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FILE PHOTO: iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are displayed during the 'Wonderlust' event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2023.

REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

US sues Apple over alleged smartphone monopoly

In an antitrust lawsuit filed Thursday, the Department of Justice alleged Apple’s dominance of the smartphone market amounts to a monopoly. The DOJ says Apple resorts to “delaying, degrading, or outright blocking technologies that would increase competition in the smartphone markets” to keep users reliant on its iPhone.

The iPhone’s success is the stuff of business school legend, capturing some 70% of the US smartphone market despite steep prices. In short, the DoJ’s contention is that unfair practices helped Apple get there.

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Lightning and USB-C cables are seen with European Union flag reflected on Apple iPhone in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on September 25, 2021.

Annie Gugliotta/ GZERO Media

How the EU designed the new iPhone

Earlier this week, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15. The camera is better. The design is sleeker. The glass is less breakable. It comes in pink.

But the detail that caught our eye was down at the bottom: the charging port has changed from a lightning port to a USB-C port (that’s the one that looks, to us at least, like an M-dash).

The story of why Apple made that change takes us not to Cupertino, but to Brussels. Last October, the EU passed a law that required most kinds of portable electronics sold in Europe to have the same charging port – the USB-C.

The move will reduce the Babel of incompatible chargers to one single standard. Smartphones and tablets have to make the change by 2024, other devices by 2026.

Tech companies grumbled about it – they had refused to agree on a standard voluntarily – but ultimately they went along with it. Why?

Because they didn’t want to get shut out of a market of 450 million consumers (the largest among advanced economies) and it made little sense to make different phones for different regions.

The USB-C story is a nice example of how the EU, lacking tech juggernauts of its own, is nevertheless trying to shape the global technology industry as a “consumer first” regulator.

While the US and China duke it out for supremacy in both hardware and software, Europe has developed some of the strictest laws in the world governing online privacy, content moderation, and competition.

Just last week the EU unveiled another set of regulations targeting the six biggest tech companies with new competition rules.

This is the same approach that Europe is taking when it comes to AI — seeking to jump out in front with smart regulation rather than the most advanced AI modules as such.

For it to continue to work, Brussels has to bet that the allure of its market is greater than the bother of adapting to strict rules. So far it’s working.

Palestinians clash with Israeli forces during a raid in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 22, 2023.

REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta

Hard Numbers: Deadly raid in Nablus, EU asylum applications soar, North Koreans go hungry, old phone = nouveau riche

11: At least 11 people died and scores were injured on Wednesday after Israeli security forces conducted a rare daytime raid in the West Bank city of Nablus. Israel was targeting members of a Palestinian militant group known as the Lion’s Den, which Israel blames for a string of shootings against troops and Israeli settlements amid recent rising tensions in the region. On Thursday, Palestinian militants retaliated by firing rockets at southern Israel, and the Israeli military launched air strikes in the Gaza Strip in response.

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Will there be a big tech breakup? Apple likely to announce 5G phone
Will There Be A Big Tech Breakup? | Apple Likely To Announce 5G Phone | Tech In :60 | GZERO Media

Will there be a big tech breakup? Apple likely to announce 5G phone

Watch as Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, explains what's going on in technology news:

How likely will big tech companies Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google be forced to breakup as recommended by Democrats on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust?

I think it's pretty unlikely. I think there will be hearings. I think there will be damages. I think that there will be scrutiny on future mergers. I don't think there will be breakups.

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Apple iPhone release; Telemedicine; Tech Responses to Coronavirus
Apple iPhone release; Telemedicine; Tech Responses to Coronavirus | Tech In :60 | GZERO Media

Apple iPhone release; Telemedicine; Tech Responses to Coronavirus

A new iPhone in a pandemic world! Are we still hyped for new iPhone releases?

What do you think of it? There's a new small iPhone SE. It's basically an old phone with new processors. Pretty cheap. I like it. I don't think the world's not too excited about it right now because there's a lot more to care about.

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