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The lock-in problem at the heart of the Apple monopoly lawsuit

Illustration of an iPhone surrounded by green and blue message bubbles.
Green bubbles are actually a big part of the DOJ’s case against Apple. | Illustration by Cath Virginia / The Verge

It’s no secret that Apple products work best if you stick with an iPhone. It turns out that’s a big reason why Apple landed in hot water today with the US Department of Justice, which alleges that the company went too far in locking down messaging, smartwatches, and digital wallets to intentionally hobble its rivals.

This won’t be a surprise to most consumers. We’ve all known for years about green bubbles and that you can’t bring your Apple Watch to an Android phone. What the DOJ is saying is that, altogether, this series of protective policies makes it extremely difficult for an iPhone user to leave its walled garden, limiting competition so much that it breaks the law.

Messaging

Green bubbles make a key appearance in the lawsuit. It’s…

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