Apple Hit By Private Lawsuits Imitating Justice Department Approach

Apple has reportedly been hit with at least three consumer class-action lawsuits over the past few days that imitate the strategy of the US Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit last week alleging anticompetitive practices on the part of the iPhone maker.

At least three proposed class actions have been filed since Friday in California and New Jersey federal courts representing claims on behalf of millions of iPhone owners that Apple’s conduct inflated the cost of the devices, Reuters reported.

The actions use strategies similar to those of the Justice Department’s case, which alleges the company inhibited the development of technologies such as messaging apps, “super apps”, digital wallets and others that could have made it easier for users to switch from one smartphone platform to another.

Attorney Steve Berman of law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro told the news service that the antitrust lawsuit used similar tactics to his firm’s previous lawsuit over anticompetitive practices with the firm’s Apple Pay product.

Image credit: Unsplash

Private lawsuits

“We are pleased that the DOJ (Department of Justice) agrees with our approach,” he said.

Apple is facing other private class action lawsuits over its business practices regarding its App Store and other areas, including a UK collective lawsuit over its developer fees. Apple has denied wrongdoing.

Hagens Berman previously achieved a combined $550 million (£435m) in settlements from Apple in cases related to ebook pricing and App Store policies.

The antitrust lawsuit filed by the Justice Department and 16 state attorneys general alleges that Apple maintains an illegal monopoly over smartphones by selectively imposing contractual restrictions on, and withholding critical acces points from developers.

Financial motive

This allows Apple to “extract more money from consumers, developers, content creators, artists, publishers, small businesses, and merchants”, among others, the DOJ’s lawyers argued.

Apple said the lawsuit, if successful, would “hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple – where hardware, software, and services intersect”.

The company, along with Google parent Alphabet and Facebook owner Meta, is also being investigated by the EU under new rules targeting the world’s biggest technology “gatekeepers”.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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