DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Says Apple Is Causing Android Users 'Social Stigma'

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DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit Says Apple Is Causing Android Users 'Social Stigma'


Here's a paragraph from the DOJ's antitrust lawsuit against Apple in full: "In addition to degrading the quality of third-party messaging apps, Apple affirmatively undermines the quality of rival smartphones. For example, if an iPhone user messages a non-iPhone user in Apple Messages -- the default messaging app on an iPhone -- then the text appears to the iPhone user as a green bubble and incorporates limited functionality: the conversation is not encrypted, videos are pixelated and grainy, and users cannot edit messages or see typing indicators.

"This signals to users that rival smartphones are lower quality because the experience of messaging friends and family who do not own iPhones is worse -- even though Apple, not the rival smartphone, is the cause of that degraded user experience. Many non-iPhone users also experience social stigma, exclusion, and blame for 'breaking' chats where other participants own iPhones. This effect is particularly powerful for certain demographics, like teenagers -- where the iPhone's share is 85 percent, according to one survey. This social pressure reinforces switching costs and drives users to continue buying iPhones -- solidifying Apple's smartphone dominance not because Apple has made its smartphone better, but because it has made communicating with other smartphones worse."
 
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