Tennessee Joins Lawsuit against Apple’s Monopolization of Smartphone Markets

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 12:09pm

NASHVILLE – On Thursday, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, alongside 15 state and district Attorneys General, joined the United States Department of Justice in filing a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple for monopolization or attempted monopolization of smartphone markets in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.

“Apple, the most valuable company in the world, stifled competition in the smartphone market at the expense of consumers,” said Tennessee Attorney General Skrmetti. “When companies win by innovating, consumers benefit. When companies win by kneecapping their competition, consumers suffer. Apple started as the ultimate innovator, and as someone who grew up on an Apple IIe and has been an iPhone user since launch, I hope the company returns to its innovative roots. In the meantime, Tennessee is proud to work with the U.S. Department of Justice and state AGs from around the country to ensure American consumers enjoy a free and functional market for smartphones.”

The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleges that Apple illegally maintains a monopoly over smartphones by selectively imposing contractual restrictions on, and withholding critical access points from, developers. Apple undermines apps, products, and services that would otherwise make users less reliant on the iPhone, promote interoperability, and lower costs for consumers and developers. Apple exercises its monopoly power to extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants, among others.

Through this monopolization lawsuit, the Justice Department and state Attorneys General are seeking relief to restore competition to these vital markets on behalf of the American public. 

As alleged in the complaint, Apple has monopoly power in the smartphone and performance smartphones markets, and it uses its control over the iPhone to engage in a broad, sustained, and illegal course of conduct. This anticompetitive behavior is designed to maintain Apple’s monopoly power while extracting as much revenue as possible.

The complaint also alleges that Apple’s conduct affects web browsers, video communication, news subscriptions, entertainment, automotive services, advertising, location services, and more. Apple has every incentive to extend and expand its course of conduct to acquire and maintain power over next-frontier devices and technologies.

Apple Inc. is a publicly traded company incorporated in California and headquartered in Cupertino, California. In fiscal year 2023, Apple generated annual net revenues of $383 billion and net income of $97 billion. Apple’s net income exceeds any other company in the Fortune 500 and the gross domestic products of more than 100 countries.