The US has filed a lawsuit against Apple in an effort to increase competition for the iPhone and give an advantage to smaller companies whose apps work with the ubiquitous device.

In the $2.7 trillion lawsuit against the company, the US alleges that the iPhone maker harmed smaller rivals and raised prices, and the Justice Department is asking the court to “restore competitive conditions in markets affected by the illegal conduct of Apple’.

Apple said the lawsuit threatens the company and the principles that distinguish its products in a competitive market.

In Europe, consumers have already benefited after a series of rules and regulations forced Apple to make a number of user-friendly changes to its popular smartphone, suggesting similar changes could come in the US if the Justice Department’s case is successful.

Below are a few areas where EU competition authorities have changed the rules and Apple has changed its product.

Charging cables

Apple’s move to USB-C chargers – the standard for Android-based devices – may be the most obvious change for consumers.

In 2022, the EU passed a law making the charging port a mandatory standard in the 27-nation bloc by the end of 2024. This made it easier for consumers to charge their devices using chargers they already own or borrow ones belonging to others.

App Store

In Europe, the new rules have created alternatives to Apple’s App Store, meaning users can download apps from competing sources, including websites and competing app stores.

This allows developers to avoid the tech giant’s 30% commission, which in theory could mean apps become cheaper. Once fully implemented, users should also enjoy access to a wider range of applications.

Payments through non-Apple websites

In both the EU and the US, app developers can direct users to their own websites to buy items instead of having to use Apple’s in-app purchase system, which also takes a 30% discount.

The change was made in the EU in accordance with the recently adopted Digital Markets Act. In the US, Apple’s hand was forced following a lawsuit by Fortnite creator Epic Games, a longtime critic of the tech giant’s business practices.


Another change in Europe introduced to comply with the EU’s digital markets law affects default web browsers. Safari has been the iPhone’s default browser since the device was first released in 2007.

While iPhone users can already change their default settings to a competitor like Google Chrome or Opera, they will now automatically be given the choice to switch when they open Safari in Apple’s latest software update, iOS 17.4.

Opposing the EU changes, Apple said users would be presented with a list of options without a chance to learn about them, and warned it would disrupt their browsing experience.

© Thomson Reuters 2024

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