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US suing Apple for blocking cloud gaming, other antitrust practices

The US Department of Justice has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple, having accused the tech firm of illegally monopolising the smartphone market and violating antitrust laws.

Filed in the US District of New Jersey on Thursday, the suit alleged that Apple had violated these laws by selectively imposing restrictions on developers in numerous ways, with the firm’s stance on cloud gaming being named as a key factor.

“Apple has blocked the development of cloud-streaming apps and services that would allow consumers to enjoy high-quality video games and other cloud-based applications without having to pay for expensive smartphone hardware,” the lawsuit read.

It claimed that updates for cloud games and services have to be submitted to Apple as standalone apps for the firm to approve, which results in an increased cost for developers to release apps on the iPhone and reduces the number of games that can be made available to users.

The lawsuit concluded that the overall rules and restrictions imposed by Apple result in developers having to create a separate iOS version of their services rather than a single cross-platform cloud-based version.

“Apple wielded its power over app distribution to effectively prevent third-party developers from offering cloud gaming subscription services as a native app on the iPhone,” it concluded.

As reported by Sky News, Apple said in response that the lawsuit “threatens the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.

“If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple – where hardware, software, and services intersect.”

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is also trying to investigate Apple for anti-competitive practices when it comes to cloud gaming, having resumed its appeal last October.

Apple has previously blocked Xbox Cloud Gaming and Google’s Stadia service on iOS, but has since removed these restrictions.

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