DoJ sues Apple for monopoly practices: what’s in it for us? DoJ sues Apple for monopoly practices: what’s in it for us?

The US Department of Justice has recently started a litigation against Apple by filing an antitrust lawsuit. You may have seen extensive ruminations about short- and long-term implications of this move; we scanned most of those and decided to sum up what really matters to us, the users. So, this post outlines the potential changes that’ll hit Apple and Android ecosystems if DoJ goes through with everything it’s put on the table.

Previously on Apple vs. the world…

A couple liberating things should be noted here before listing the potential transformations following the said lawsuit.

  • In iOS 17.4, Apple planned to add virtual cards linked to Apple Cash, which is a move unchaining users from the company’s payment infrastructure (reported here);
  • iPhones and iPads now come with USB-C, same as Macs (some details here);
  • Apple promised to adopt Rich Communication Services, industry-wide messaging standards facilitating communication for everyone except iPhone users, in 2024 (covered in this post).

As you can see, Apple isn’t exactly adamant about standing its ground. There are also two concessions it was forced to make by the European Union: first off, developers will have the opportunity to transact with their EU users directly, bypassing Apple’s middlemanship, and secondly, iOS will no longer be tied to the App Store in terms of app installation.

What DoJ’s latest lawsuit can mean for us

Without further ado, here’s the list of what can change for all of us.

  1. More freedom with payment options. Currently, the iPhone's NFC module can only be accessed by Apple Pay. Moreover, Apple charges 0.15 percent commission on all transactions enabled by its native payment app. DoJ seeks to force the giant to allow other parties to use the said module, thus breaking this monopoly. In other words, you’ll be able to pay through a provider other than Apple, which greatly simplifies routine financial management for those using both iOS and Android phones.

  2. Real cloud gaming on iPhones. Nowadays, game developers don’t want to think about resources, which means numerous AAA titles are very picky about hardware. The solution to this conundrum is cloud gaming: all heavy lifting, i.e., processing and rendering, is done in the cloud, and you, a gamer, can go with a modest computer or phone, provided the bandwidth is sufficient. Apple opposed this in its ecosystem, and DoJ doesn’t see eye to eye with the company in this respect.

  3. Better integration with smartwatches. The Apple Watch is good, but it’s not the only device of this sort on the market. Currently, the Cupertino company doesn’t give third-party makers of smartwatches access to some APIs in iOS, which limits their functionality in a pair with an iPhone. The same goes for an Apple Watch + Android phone couple. DoJ seeks to lift the barriers in iOS and make Apple build a full-fledged app for Android.

  4. Superapps as they should be. In China, you can do pretty much everything in the WeChat app, from plain communication through money transfers to pizza ordering. Elon Musk plans to turn X into an everything app, too. This trend eats into Apple’s profits, so the company opposes it. DoJ thinks it shouldn’t.

If you believe we’ve missed something important about this lawsuit and its real-life implications, please share it with us in the comments below. Otherwise, stay tuned for more news on this topic.

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