April 17, 2024

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Walt Mossberg says the Justice Department's claim of Apple's monopoly is laughable

Walt Mossberg says the Justice Department's claim of Apple's monopoly is laughable

Apple is facing a landmark antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

  • The Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, but some analysts believe it is a weak case.
  • Renowned technology journalist Walt Mossberg called the Justice Department's claim of Apple's monopoly “laughable.”
  • The lawsuit punishes Apple “for not having a business model like that of its competitors,” he wrote.

This week, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the company abused its monopoly power to stifle competition among smartphone manufacturers.

While insiders and analysts across the tech industry have speculated that the US may end up settling — as they did in a similar antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s — not everyone is convinced that the suit represents a death blow to the Justice Department.

“Describing Apple as a phone ‘monopoly’ is laughable,” famous technology journalist Walt Mossberg wrote in a series of posts. Threads. “Every independent analyst estimates that the iPhone market share is just over 50% in the US and just under 25% globally. This is not a monopoly.”

Mossberg, who has covered technology for nearly 30 years, most notably for the Wall Street Journal and is known for his deep sources inside Apple, wrote that the company is a smartphone maker “for people who want more from their digital devices than just a platform for tinkering.” “, which has been its differentiator from companies like Microsoft since the 1980s.

He noted that the Justice Department's allegations that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive behavior by making features on Apple phones work better when interacting with other products in the Apple ecosystem should not require government intervention. Because even “Gmail only works fully and correctly in a special Gmail application.”

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Mossberg noted that, in the lawsuit, the Justice Department had to narrowly define the market it claims Apple has a monopoly — “performance phones, that is, expensive phones,” he wrote — to support its claims.

“It claims that the iPhone has 70% of that market in the US. This is like calling the best-selling expensive wine a monopoly when it actually has a modest overall market share,” Mossberg wrote. “The Department of Justice acts as if there is a right for competitors to use iMessage technology, which is owned by Apple. But since when must companies do such a thing?”

Mossberg added that although he is not a lawyer and could ultimately prove that Apple violated the law on some specific matters, “the crux of the lawsuit seems to be about Apple's philosophy of building products and services, and punishing the company for not having a business model like it.” model of its competitors.

Mossberg, who noted in his “conspiracy theorists” thread that he is retired and has not been paid for his posts, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

While his analysis of events in the world of technology is widely trusted by those who know the industry, Mossberg is not alone in his criticism of the issue.

“Ultimately, this is clearly a political issue. The Department of Justice in 2019 (!) set out to go after Big Tech companies in previous times,” said Steven Sinofsky, a software engineer and former head of Microsoft's Windows division. He wrote in his letter:Hardcore software“.

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He added: “The Department of Justice started filing cases against big tech companies, and that's what we got. Here we are with the case against Apple. It's weak and poorly framed and it looks to me very much like they couldn't figure out why.” It's about a clear duopoly where the market is incredibly well served by two very different approaches, lots of happy customers, and a few loud and vocal complaining companies that actually lost in court once.

Sinofsky declined to add additional comment about the case when contacted by BI.

Representatives for Apple and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment from BI.