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Apple must face claims it illegally monopolized the U.S. market for heart-rate monitoring apps on Apple Watch, a California-based federal judge said on Monday.

Kardia-Band-apple-watch.jpg

AliveCor, a company that that markets an ECG "KardiaBand" for the Apple Watch, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple in May 2021 accusing the Cupertino company of changing the heart-rate algorithm for the Apple Watch to gain an "unfair competitive edge" over rivals while endangering the lives of AliveCor users.

According to AliveCor, Apple's decision to exclude third-party heart-rate analysis providers from the Apple Watch has harmed AliveCor and impacted patients and consumers. To go along with the KardiaBand, AliveCor created the SmartRhythm app, which uses data from the Apple Watch's heart-rate algorithm to determine when a heart rate is irregular and suggest people take an ECG with the KardiaBand.

The KardiaBand received FDA approval in 2017, and in 2018, Apple debuted the Apple Watch Series 4 with built-in ECG capabilities and its own irregular heart rhythm notifications followed. AliveCor claims that Apple saw the success of the KardiaBand and changed the functionality of watchOS to sabotage KardiaBand and "corner the market for heart rate analysis on Apple Watch."

According to the latest report from Reuters, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said Monday that AliveCor could try to prove that Apple violated federal antitrust law based on its alleged "complete control" over the market for such apps.
"AliveCor alleges that Apple made changes to the heart rate algorithm that made it effectively impossible for third parties to inform a user when to take an ECG," or electrocardiogram, White wrote. "Plaintiff's allegations plausibly establish that Apple's conduct was anticompetitive."
However, White dismissed AliveCor's separate claim that Apple maintained an illegal monopoly over ECG-capable smart watches, because AliveCor's KardiaBand wristband "complements but does not compete" in that market, he said.

Apple and its lawyers have yet to respond to the judgement. AliveCor has previously filed several patent infringement lawsuits against Apple, alleging that Apple copied AliveCor's cardiological detection and analysis technology. Those lawsuits have not yet been resolved, while today's judgement allows AliveCor to seek damages and pursue the possibility of an injunction that would require Apple to cease its perceived monopolistic conduct.

Article Link: Apple to Face Claims it Bars Third-Party Heart-Rate App Functionality on Apple Watch
 

RadioHedgeFund

Cancelled
Sep 11, 2018
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In other news:

Shell have announced they are sueing Tesla for making their cars run on electricity, thereby cutting Petroleum companies off from the fuel market. A Shell press release stated, "By making their automobiles charge exclusively by electricity, often from their own charge points Tesla makes it impossible for Petroleum companies to access that marketplace, effectively monopolising the fuel marketplace."
 

4jasontv

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Jul 31, 2011
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I'm glad Facebook can't monitor for changes in my heart rate when I'm browsing posts.
Before someone argues with you, let's remind everyone that Facebook and Google provide code to third parties that shorten app development in exchange for access to their user data. An app that feels they have a legitimate reason to access the EKG, HR sensor, or any user data can share that information. Facebook and Google would prefer that approach because then they can tell investors they have access while also telling regulators no meta or alphabet app collects health data.

App by app control is insufficient, and until disclosure policies allow for disabling data sharing, the only adequate protection is denying third-party hardware.
 
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Devnul0

macrumors regular
May 28, 2018
102
136
Greater Boston
Has Apple fixed heart rate functionality to even work correctly for third-party apps? To this day I still occasionally see my heart rate for the first several (to many) minutes of a workout to be a fixed value. It used to be so bad that it seemed like starting *every* workout with a third-party app wouldn't get an actual heart rate until the next scheduled non-workout heart rate check that the watch would do.
 
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MauiPa

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Apr 18, 2018
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So, "you make a product, I have a fundamental right to use my product with yours" Does that some it up? Does alivecor allow Apple Watch and apple products on what it makes?

I wish someone would intelligently describe the reason why any manufacturers would be required to work with any other company's products, barring a contract of course. I mean I can clearly see the appeal of it, but the legal requirement? Does my Kindle have to work with other book stores? Can we sue TV manufacturers that don't allow Airplay and Google play and Roku streaming?
 

MauiPa

macrumors 68030
Apr 18, 2018
2,958
4,322
Has Apple fixed heart rate functionality to even work correctly for third-party apps? To this day I still occasionally see my heart rate for the first several (to many) minutes of a workout to be a fixed value. It used to be so bad that it seemed like starting *every* workout with a third-party app wouldn't get an actual heart rate until the next scheduled non-workout heart rate check that the watch would do.
I use cardiogram, it works great, they are third party.
 

kkillam

macrumors member
Aug 26, 2011
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So, "you make a product, I have a fundamental right to use my product with yours" Does that some it up? Does alivecor allow Apple Watch and apple products on what it makes?

I wish someone would intelligently describe the reason why any manufacturers would be required to work with any other company's products, barring a contract of course. I mean I can clearly see the appeal of it, but the legal requirement? Does my Kindle have to work with other book stores? Can we sue TV manufacturers that don't allow Airplay and Google play and Roku streaming?
This is what absolutely baffles me about the entire stream of lawsuits happening right now.
 

Allyance

Contributor
Sep 29, 2017
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East Bay, CA
Based on my brother’s (electrical engineer with a Masters in medicine) success with AliveCor’s standalone device, I ordered their device for the AW band. It was difficult to use and getting a consistent reading so I returned it and got the AW with EKG built in. The AW system is easy and flawless to use. AliveCor’s stand alone device and iPhone app works well and alerted my brother he had an AFIB problem and his cardiologist sent him to the hospital right away. I do not have AFIB and I get consistently get good readings on the AW.
 

LeadingHeat

macrumors 6502a
Oct 3, 2015
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The KardiaBand received FDA approval in 2017, and in 2018, Apple debuted the Apple Watch Series 4 with built-in ECG capabilities
While that does seem suspect in a click-bait article, you can't honestly think that Apple rushed the market with their own baked-in ECG functionalities, also approved by the FDA, and had it polished enough to work reliably out the gate...... in one year. Apple assuredly plans features, especially big features like this, well past one year out.
 

GermanSuplex

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Aug 26, 2009
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I don't see the validity of the argument. There are a lot of things that could run on something that aren't allowed to. Its a very slippery slope.
 
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Omenamies

macrumors newbie
Sep 28, 2020
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That seems… dubious?

Is the claim that third-party apps get data at a lower interval?



Playing with emotions, I see.
Does Polar have an unfair competitive edge over rivals since it exports only average workout heart rate to Apple Health… potentially endangering lives? Should Apple sue?
 

Alan Wynn

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2017
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While that does seem suspect in a click-bait article, you can't honestly think that Apple rushed the market with their own baked-in ECG functionalities, also approved by the FDA, and had it polished enough to work reliably out the gate...... in one year. Apple assuredly plans features, especially big features like this, well past one year out.
Actually, if Apple was able to design, build, write software, test, get FDA approval, and ship that functionality in under two years, I would grant them a monopoly, as that would be amazing.
 

JM

Contributor
Nov 23, 2014
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I hope everyone understands now why slippery-slope arguments are a legitimate concern.

This all started with people complaining about Apple’s “walled garden” and that they should open up to third parties and competitors. Do you really want any other company but Apple to have “access” to your health data? (Parenthesis because Apple never truly has access to your health data… they’re very clear about their stance on privacy.)
 
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