According to legal experts, Apple has the right to contract with whomever it chooses and to design products as it deems appropriate. However, concerns arise when a company with monopoly power takes actions aimed at impeding rivals’ ability to compete in the long term, even if it means sacrificing short-term profits, explained Douglas Ross, an antitrust expert at the University of Washington’s law school.

Ross suggested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) appears to operate under the assumption that Apple should collaborate with its competitors to enable them to compete effectively, which he believes misinterprets antitrust law.

In comparing the current situation to Microsoft’s antitrust case in the 1990s, Ross highlighted that Microsoft controlled 95% of desktop operating systems at that time, leading to regulatory intervention. In contrast, Apple holds approximately 55% of the North American smartphone market share, with the remainder primarily comprising devices using Google’s Android operating system.

While the Justice Department aims to define the market solely within the United States, Apple intends to argue for a global smartphone market definition. Globally, both Apple and Samsung Electronics hold around 20% market share each, with Apple slightly surpassing Samsung in shipments.

Ross pointed out that Android presents a significant competitor to iOS, unlike the lack of effective competition against Microsoft in the PC operating system space.

Regarding the ongoing case, some allegations have resurfaced from previous court proceedings. In 2021, a federal judge ruled in an antitrust case brought by Epic Games against Apple, finding that Epic failed to demonstrate that iPhone users were “locked-in” and unwilling to switch to Android devices.

Despite these distinctions, the DOJ and the Biden Administration’s Federal Trade Commission have chosen to pursue the case against Apple, reflecting their commitment to challenging significant antitrust matters, according to legal experts. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Patrick McGahan noted that the government is willing to take on the risks associated with such cases.

Litigator Melissa Maxman praised the lawsuit as a step toward fostering competition in the smartphone market, drawing parallels to the impact of the Microsoft case on the tech industry. Maxman asserted that opening the market to additional competitors could lead to lower prices and improved quality, echoing the outcomes observed after the Microsoft case