Apple’s First Reply: Tried Android-Compatible Smartwatch, Dropped Due to Tech Limits

Apple’s Response to Antitrust Lawsuit Regarding Apple Watch Compatibility

On March 22, news broke that the US Department of Justice and attorneys general from 16 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. One of the reasons cited was that Apple’s Apple Watch is exclusively compatible with iPhones, which raises the cost for users to switch to other brands of smartphones. This is because it implies abandoning the pricey Apple Watch and needing to purchase a new Android-compatible smartwatch.

Apple then publicly claimed that they spent three years developing an Apple Watch compatible with Android systems, but eventually abandoned the project due to technical issues.

Apple's response

(Source: Apple Official Website)

But is this really the case?

Last November, Bloomberg reported on an internal Apple project called “Project Fennel.” The report stated that Apple’s health team developed code that would make the Apple Watch and its Health app compatible with billions of Android devices. They believed that in regions with lower iPhone market share, this move could boost sales of Apple Watch and other products.

However, Apple eventually halted the project for business reasons. An insider stated that if they made the Apple Watch compatible with Android devices, it would dilute its value for iPhones.

Therefore, using technical issues as a reason for not opening compatibility with Android devices seems to be just Apple’s defense against the US Department of Justice’s antitrust accusations. Given Apple’s technological prowess, achieving software compatibility with Android devices should not be a challenge for them.

Apple's response continued

(Source: Apple Official Website)

It’s well-known that Apple tends to create a closed ecosystem to enhance user experience through interconnected devices and services, thus fostering brand loyalty. Developing products specifically designed for the iPhone, such as the Apple Watch, AirPods, etc., ensures interaction between devices and enhances the uniqueness and appeal of Apple products, maintaining numerous features exclusive to the Apple ecosystem.

Moreover, this strategy helps Apple maintain control over its ecosystem, optimizing software and hardware integration. Although it might not be technically challenging, making the Apple Watch compatible with Android platforms could weaken the exclusive advantages and business model of the Apple ecosystem.

Apple's response continued

(Source: Apple Official Website)

Therefore, users are skeptical of Apple’s response to the antitrust allegations. Additionally, in light of the previous dispute with Epic Games regarding the App Store fees, netizens jokingly commented that Apple gave up due to a “technical issue” preventing them from enforcing the 30% Apple tax.

Amidst the lawsuit, Apple’s stock fell by 4.09% on the same day, closing at $171.37, marking the largest single-day decline since August 4, 2023, causing the company’s market value to plummet over $110 billion overnight.

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