Last month, the United States Department of Justice announced an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the company “has locked its consumers into the iPhone while locking its competitors out of the market.” Among the other headline allegations is that Apple “makes it harder for Americans to switch smartphones, undermines innovation for apps, products, and services, and imposes extraordinary costs on developers, businesses, and consumers.”

Yet the lawsuit, while focusing extensively on consumer protection, somewhat minimizes consumer voices. Do consumers actually think that Apple is an anticompetitive monopoly against which the Department of Justice should act? To find out, we gathered the opinions of 223 US online adults in Forrester’s ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community (MROC). Here’s what we saw.

Consumers Are Split On The Merits Of The Lawsuit

We asked consumers about their feelings on the statement “Apple is a monopoly, and the government should take action against the company.” The results broke remarkably evenly: A third disagreed with the statement, a third agreed, and a third were neutral.

Those who disagreed primarily argued that Apple was suffering from its own success, saying that there are plenty of other manufacturers, just not ones that are making products of comparable quality. As one MROC respondent put it: “This is capitalism! There are other choices, but people would rather buy Apple. I hate that the DOJ thinks they have the right to sue Apple for being successful.” Another said: “When Apple was first introduced to the market, they produced superior products. There were no viable comparison products. In our capitalist-based society, the company should not be penalized for profiting from these inventions.”

Those who agreed, in addition to simply contending that Apple had taken over so much of the market that it can effectively dictate the prices consumers pay, focused on two main issues: protectionism and planned obsolescence. For the former, consumers complained that Apple prevents access to outside apps on its phones. One MROC member commented that “Apple is too restrictive on what apps can be obtained in their store and used on their phones and charges an exorbitant amount for the privilege.” According to another, “Apple’s products do not work well with [other companies’ products]. If you buy one, you have to get all the others or they will not integrate with anything else.” For the latter, an MROC respondent justified their response this way: “It comes from my experience of knowing that with their older phones, they would slow them down so you had to upgrade — to me, that’s a monopoly. It’s trying to be the only one in this class and forcing people to spend money needlessly on upgrades.”

Blue Bubbles? Green Bubbles? Who Cares!

When two iPhone users message each other, the text appears as a blue bubble. When two Android users message each other, the text appears as a green bubble. It’s also a green bubble when an iPhone user and an Android user message each other, but for the iPhone user, the message’s functionality is limited: no encryption, low-quality videos, uneditable text. According to the Department of Justice, “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.” Among certain social groups, the DOJ alleges, non-iPhone users are ostracized for “‘breaking’ chats where other participants own iPhones.”

Such social consequences certainly happen in some cases, but most think the bubbles just aren’t a big deal. Among MROC respondents, more than three-quarters of both iPhone users and Android users said that the distinction between blue and green bubbles “slightly” or “not at all” affects their messaging experience. As one iPhone user said, “It just tells me what type of phone my friend has but has no bearing on my interaction.” When we asked iPhone users directly if the need to have bubbles influenced their decision to buy an iPhone, only about one in every seven agreed that it did. Is that enough to be anticompetitive and constitute a monopoly? That’s up to you.