The DOJ Sues Apple for Alleged Antitrust Violations

Happy Tuesday! The NFL is continuing its global push, announcing on Monday plans to expand efforts to promote fandom of specific teams in 19 overseas markets. After examining the list, we’re wondering what Spain and the United Kingdom did to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to make him saddle them with the Chicago Bears. (Editor’s Note: Rude.)

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Monday demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in two weeks, after the U.S. abstained from voting. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas Greenfield said the U.S. could not support the resolution because it did not condition the ceasefire on Hamas’ release of the remaining hostages, but chose not to block it because it does include a demand to release the hostages. The U.S. had previously vetoed four previous ceasefire resolutions, though National Security Council spokesman John Kirby insisted yesterday’s abstention did not indicate a shift in White House policy on Israel’s war against Hamas. In response to the move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled an upcoming visit to the U.S. by two top advisers to discuss alternatives to Israel’s planned ground offensive in Rafah. Meanwhile, Gideon Sa’ar, a member of the Israeli unity government aligned with opposition leader Benny Gantz, resigned on Monday after being left out of Netanyahu’s war cabinet. “I can’t carry the responsibility if I do not have, in my judgment, a real possibility to influence the direction of policy,” Sa’ar said.
  • The Justice Department on Monday unsealed an indictment against seven China-based hackers accused of targeting businesses, politicians, journalists, and international critics on the Chinese government’s behalf. The DOJ alleges the seven hackers were part of a state-sponsored group that, over the course of 14 years, sent more than 10,000 malicious emails to collect information about their targets and enable additional and even more intrusive hacking efforts. White House staffers, U.S. senators and members of Congress, and employees of various cabinet agencies were all allegedly targets of such efforts. The U.S. and United Kingdom also sanctioned two of the defendants, as well as a firm in Wuhan, China, which the Treasury Department said served as a front for hacking operations. 
  • A New York appeals court on Monday reduced the bond former President Donald Trump will have to pay the state of New York as he appeals the judgment in the civil fraud case against him, which concluded he and his associates had committed financial fraud. The order—which came the same day New York Attorney General Letitia James could have begun to seize Trump’s assets in the enforcement of a more than $450 million judgment—reduced the bond to put the judgment on hold while he appeals to $175 million. That sum is due within 10 days, and he will reportedly be able to secure the requisite funding. Meanwhile, in a separate criminal case related to allegations the former president paid a porn star to keep quiet about an affair ahead of the 2016 presidential election, New York Judge Juan Merchan set a trial date of April 15.
  • Trump’s social media venture, Trump Media & Technology Group Corp., is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange as a public company today. The corporation, which operates Trump’s social media platform Truth Social, completed a merger with an already-public shell company on Friday, allowing it to avoid an initial public offering. Trump will not be able to cash out his shares unless the business’ board, on which his son Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump allies sit, changes the “lock-up” policy that prevents people with knowledge of the business from selling shares within six months of public trading. 
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law on Monday barring social media companies from offering accounts to minors under the age of 14. The first-of-its-kind legislation, set to take effect on January 1, 2025, would also require companies to close the existing accounts of children believed to be younger than 14. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds would be allowed to hold accounts with a guardian’s consent, and platforms would be required to delete the existing accounts of minors of that age in the absence of parental consent.
  • The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed early Tuesday morning after a container ship traveling along the Patapsco River hit a central column supporting the roadway. Dali, the cargo ship that hit the bridge, is reportedly Singapore-flagged and managed by Synergy Marine Group. At least seven vehicles were traveling along the bridge and fell into the water when it collapsed, according to a Baltimore Fire Department spokesman, and rescuers are looking for as many as 20 people in the water. The spokesman described the collapse as a “mass casualty incident,” and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has declared a state of emergency.

‘Buy Your Mom an iPhone’ 

Apple products are offered for sale at an Apple store on March 21, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Apple products are offered for sale at an Apple store on March 21, 2024, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

If you’re anything like your Morning Dispatchers and fretted deeply in middle school over whether it was illegal to “jailbreak” your iPod Touch to get access to more features—all the cool kids were doing it—competition authorities have finally heard your struggle.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), along with the attorneys general of 15 states and Washington, D.C., filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, alleging the company has attempted to monopolize the smartphone market through anti-competitive practices that hurt users and degrade innovation. The suit—the culmination of a years-long investigation—sets the stage for a fierce legal battle with one of the world’s largest companies as Biden administration appointees attempt to reimagine American antitrust policy.

The White House has made expanding antitrust enforcement one of its signature issues. Proponents of the “hipster antitrust” or Neo-Brandeis movement—a school of thought that wants to broaden the approach of antitrust beyond a legal focus on low prices and consumer protection—heralded President Joe Biden’s selection of Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan as a big win for the trust-busting cause. Supporters believe antitrust policy should target market concentration as inherently harmful and corrosive to competition and economic equality, even if that concentration isn’t necessarily reflected in higher prices.

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