4 Internal Apple Emails That Helped the DOJ Build Its Case

Apple uses the dominance of the iPhone to illegally suppress competition in ways that harm consumers, the US Department of Justice alleged in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Apple has denied it acts illegally, with spokesperson Fred Sainz saying that the suit “threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.” But key parts of the suit use the words of Apple’s own executives against the company. The DOJ lawsuit quotes internal emails to argue that Apple knowingly restricts users and developers in unfair ways. Here is how four of the messages appear to show executives discussing how to maintain tight control of Apple’s ecosystem.

“Not Fun to Watch”

The DOJ’s complaint opens by quoting an email exchange from 2010 between Apple cofounder and then CEO Steve Jobs and an unnamed “top Apple executive.” It describes the executive emailing Jobs about a new ad for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, in which a woman first uses an iPhone to buy and read books using Amazon’s iOS Kindle app but later reads those books on an Android phone.

The suit portrays this ad as triggering concern inside Apple. It says the executive wrote to Jobs about it, saying that one “message that can’t be missed is that it is easy to switch from iPhone to Android. Not fun to watch.” The suit doesn’t quote Jobs’ response at length, but says he wrote that Apple would “force” developers to use its payment system to lock in both developers and users on its platform.

The DOJ alleges that the episode demonstrates an early instance of Apple using a playbook it has turned to repeatedly when facing competition, intentionally locking users and developers into Apple’s ecosystem. The lawsuit claims that practice has made switching to Apple alternatives more expensive than it’s worth, deterring competition.

“iPhone Families”

The way Apple restricts the iMessage messaging service is a major feature of the DOJ’s antitrust allegations. It cites emails, including to current CEO Tim Cook, as evidence that the company knew it was harming users and making it more difficult to switch away from an iPhone.

One 2013 message quoted, from Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, is claimed to have warned that allowing Apple Messages to work across platforms “would simply serve to remove [an] obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones.”

Source : Wired