Apple CarPlay would also exercise an unfair monopoly, according to American regulators

Mathilde Rochefort

March 22, 2024 at 11:18 a.m.


US regulators have filed a complaint against Apple © Apple

US regulators have filed a complaint against Apple © Apple

In addition to the iPhone, Apple CarPlay, Apple’s automotive operating system, is also in the sights of the Justice Department. According to the institution, it allows the company to exercise excessive control over the automobile industry and stifle competition.

This Thursday, March 21, the American authority filed a complaint against Apple, starting a potentially historic case for the country’s antitrust. The Apple brand is accused of having resorted to numerous anti-competitive practices for years to maintain the monopoly of its flagship product, the iPhone.

In the 88-page complaint document, regulators mention Apple CarPlay, saying it also plays a role in the company’s dominant position.

CarPlay and digital keys would help establish the iPhone monopoly

Popular with American drivers, CarPlay is subject to restrictions allowing Apple to “ further lock in the power of the iPhone by preventing the development of other disintermediation technologies that interact with the phone, but reside outside the device ,” the lawsuit states.

They particularly denounce the new version of the OS, which prosecutors describe as taking “ controlling all of a car’s screens, sensors and gauges, forcing users to experience driving as an iPhone-centric experience if they want to use any of the functions provided by CarPlay “.

Digital keys, which can be stored in the Maps application (Wallet), are also mentioned. “ Apple Wallet’s default status directs users to it rather than allowing third parties to present digital car keys only in their own cross-platform app, increasing reliance on Apple and the iPhone when they use their car », They specify. This practice would push car manufacturers not to innovate, because they are forced to share data with the Californian giant.

Are CarPlay and iPhone inseparable?  © pollawat phongchankhiao / Shutterstock

Are CarPlay and iPhone inseparable? © pollawat phongchankhiao / Shutterstock

Certain elements of the complaint raise questions

Some analysts are surprised by the presence of CarPlay and digital keys in the Justice Department’s complaint. According to them, it is possible that regulators have not really understood the usefulness of the two systems. Apple’s digital key technology, for example, complies with standards set by a consortium of automakers and technology companies.

Likewise, automobile manufacturers “ don’t have to let Apple take over all the screens » from the dashboard, explains to The Verge Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights and automotive software expert. They know that not all drivers have iPhones, and must therefore create an interface accordingly. Vehicle owners should be able to adjust their air conditioning, change radio stations or use native navigation maps.

Complainants may adjust their complaints over time. They are engaged in a very long-term affair against one of the most powerful companies in the world. Apple will no doubt vehemently dispute the numerous accusations against it. The company has already responded by stating that the lawsuit “ threatens our identity and the principles that distinguish Apple products in extremely competitive markets “.

Source : The Verge

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