The internet was ablaze yesterday, as the United States Department of Justice officially did as rumored and decided, well, they were gonna sue Apple!

As The New York Times (paywalled) put it…

The federal government’s aggressive crackdown on Big Tech expanded on Thursday to include an antitrust lawsuit by the Justice Department against Apple, one of the world’s best-known and most valuable companies.

The department joined 16 states and the District of Columbia to file a significant challenge to the reach and influence of Apple, arguing in an 88-page lawsuit that the company had violated antitrust laws with practices that were intended to keep customers reliant on their iPhones and less likely to switch to a competing device. The tech giant prevented other companies from offering applications that compete with Apple products like its digital wallet, which could diminish the value of the iPhone, and hurts consumers and smaller companies that compete with it, the government said.

Sixteen states! Eighty eight pages! This is a Big Boy Document! They are serious about this one.

Let’s dig more into those accusations, shall we?

By tightly controlling the user experience on iPhones and other devices, Apple has created what critics call an uneven playing field, where it grants its own products and services access to core features that it denies rivals. Over the years, it has limited finance companies’ access to the phone’s payment chip and Bluetooth trackers from tapping into its location-service feature. It’s also easier for users to connect Apple products, like smartwatches and laptops, to the iPhone than to those made by other manufacturers.

This is the point and purpose of having a technology stack. Integrated systems which work together. Guess what? If you want to use a Fitbit (Google product) with an iPhone, you can. If you want to connect your iPhone to a Windows machine? You can.

You can do those things. But it’s better, easier, and works more cohesively via Apple products. Because Apple can account for all of their hardware and its quirks. This is no different – in my opinion – than JoyCons working more accurately on a Nintendo Switch than on an iPad. You sure can connect JoyCons to an iPad, but they sure as hell don’t work as well.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop Apple from engaging in current practices, including blocking cloud-streaming apps, undermining messaging across smartphone operating systems and preventing the creation of digital wallet alternatives.

Blocking cloud-streaming apps? OK, yeah, you’ve got a point. I think that’s a great idea to open that realm up. That’s what the EU has done with their DMA (Digital Markets Act), and Apple responded with their latest iOS update to account for it. The response to Apple’s response has been mixed, but there’s precedent. Go for it, DoJ!

Undermining messaging across smartphone operating systems? Uh…the only thing they have is iMessage, which allows Apple based users to use their version of a more secure enclave for messaging, a’la a Signal. If an Android user – who does not have iMessage – sends a standard SMS text to an Apple user, guess what? Apple users get that SMS. Yes! There is that green bubble versus the blue bubble thing – but that is almost exclusively a US based issue. Internationally, most people use WhatsApp…which doesn’t support SMS.

At best, maybe Apple should develop an iMessage app for Android or Windows. But I’ll be honest, I don’t see the point. And I know, you might argue “WHAT ABOUT RCS?” Apple’s on it. Sure, they got strong armed into it, but it’s happening.

Preventing the creation of digital wallet alternatives? I don’t even know what we’re fighting about here. The crummy US banking system already has tools like Zelle for you to send money. Perhaps I’m out of my realm here, but I definitely know that I’m not inclined to use a third-party payment tool.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve got the government taking credit for Apple’s success by way of the 90’s antitrust case against Microsoft, you’ve got the weird breakdown of calling Apple the primary vendor of “performance smartphones”, which isn’t a thing, but if it were, you could go after Ferrari or Bugatti for being successful there, it just goes on and on for 88 pages of nonsense. Minus that one decent argument about app installations / the App Store.

Let’s wrap this up, with the last bit from the New York Times story:

“Competition makes devices more private and more secure,” said Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. “In many instances, Apple’s conduct has made its ecosystem less private and less secure.”

What better way to make things more private and more secure than opening it up to anyone and everyone, and not locking the doors behind them. Do they hear themselves?

Up next: Merrick Garland finds out his newly bought PlayStation 5 copy of Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth won’t play on his Nintendo Switch, so he sues Sony.