U.S. Justice Division Sues Apple Over Monopoly and Messaging Safety

Messaging Security

The U.S. Division of Justice (DoJ), together with 16 different state and district attorneys basic, on Thursday accused Apple of illegally sustaining a monopoly over smartphones, thereby undermining, amongst others, safety and privateness of customers when messaging non-iPhone customers.

“Apple wraps itself in a cloak of privateness, safety, and client preferences to justify its anticompetitive conduct,” the landmark antitrust lawsuit said. “Apple deploys privateness and safety justifications as an elastic defend that may stretch or contract to serve Apple’s monetary and enterprise pursuits.”


“Apple selectively compromises privateness and safety pursuits when doing so is in Apple’s personal monetary curiosity – akin to degrading the safety of textual content messages, providing governments and sure corporations the possibility to entry extra personal and safe variations of app shops, or accepting billions of {dollars} every year for selecting Google as its default search engine when extra personal choices can be found.”

The sprawling criticism additionally alleged that iPhone customers who message a non-iPhone consumer through the Messages app are defaulted to the much less safe SMS format (versus iMessage) that lacks help for encryption and presents restricted performance. However, iMessage is end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) and is even quantum-resistant.

It is price noting at this stage that iMessage is barely obtainable on the iPhone and different Apple units. Apple has repeatedly stated it has no plans of constructing iMessage interoperable with Android, even stating that doing so will “will damage us greater than assist us.”

Moreover, the 88-page lawsuit referred to as out the iPhone maker for blocking makes an attempt by third-parties to carry safe cross-platform messaging expertise between iOS and Android platform.

In December 2023, Beeper managed to reverse engineer the iMessage protocol and port the service to Android by way of a devoted consumer referred to as Beeper Mini. Apple, nonetheless, has shut down those efforts, arguing that Beeper “posed vital dangers to consumer safety and privateness, together with the potential for metadata publicity and enabling undesirable messages, spam, and phishing assaults.”

These limitations have a strong community impact, driving shoppers to proceed shopping for iPhones and fewer prone to swap to a competing gadget, the DoJ stated, including, “by rejecting options that will enable for cross-platform encryption, Apple continues to make iPhone customers’ much less safe than they might in any other case be.”


The event comes as Apple is dealing with extra scrutiny than ever to open up its tightly-controlled software program ecosystem — the so-called “walled backyard” — which regulators say locks in prospects and builders. Different main tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Meta have all handled comparable lawsuits in recent times.

Apple, in a shock transfer late final 12 months, introduced that it intends so as to add help for Communication Providers (RCS) – an upgraded model of the SMS commonplace with trendy immediate messaging options – to its Messages app. It additionally stated it should work with the GSMA members to combine encryption.

In response to the lawsuit, Cupertino said it should “vigorously defend” itself and that the lawsuit “threatens who we’re and the ideas that set Apple merchandise aside in fiercely aggressive markets.” It additionally said that DoJ profitable the lawsuit would “set a harmful precedent, empowering the federal government to take a heavy hand in designing individuals’s expertise.”

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