Apple’s antitrust fight begins

Over the course of 88 pages of surprisingly readable legalese, the US Department of Justice attempted to make the case that Apple is a problem. Apple, the DOJ alleges in its sweeping antitrust complaint, has systematically crushed innovation in the smartphone world, robbing not only competitors but also iPhone users of the opportunity to get better software and use better hardware.

The argument is complicated, but it has an awful lot in common with another big antitrust trial, one the government won more than two decades ago: US v. Microsoft. That case was about a huge corporation ruthlessly working to neutralize any company that threatened to open up its walled gardens, make it easy for people to build and use cross-platform software, or end the control it had over its massively successful and massively popular platform. This one is very different but also very much the same.

On this episode of The Vergecast, we talk about the DOJ’s complaint. A lot. For like an hour and a half. We talk about the five main parts of Apple’s ecosystem — super apps, the cloud streaming, messaging apps, smartwatches, and digital wallets — that the DOJ is concerned with. We ask which arguments make sense… and which don’t. And then, we try to handicap how long this is all going to take to shake out. The over / under is set at 2030 before everything is settled. What would you bet?

After that, we release Nilay Patel into his Mexican vacation, and we do a newsy lightning round. We almost manage to stop talking about Apple. Almost.

If you want to read more on everything we talked about in this episode, here are a few links to get you started, beginning with Apple’s antitrust case:

And in the lightning round:

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