U.S. Department of Justice in 'Early Stages' of Drafting Possible Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple
The United States Justice Department is in the early stages of crafting an antitrust complaint against Apple, reports Politico. A source that spoke to the site described the lawsuit as "potential," indicating that the DOJ's plans are not yet finalized.
Prosecutors within the DOJ are said to be "assembling the pieces" for a lawsuit that could be filed by the end of the year, but the decision has not yet been made as to when. It's also possible that no lawsuit will ultimately be filed at all.
The U.S. government launched an antitrust investigation into Apple back in 2019, making inquiries about Apple's policies surrounding the App Store, third-party apps, repairs, and more. The DOJ has spent time speaking with Apple critics that include Spotify, Epic Games, Match Group, Basecamp, and Tile, all of whom have expressed unhappiness with Apple's App Store policies.
The investigation was part of a deeper probe into tech companies that include Amazon, Facebook, and Google in addition to Apple, and it has thus far resulted in proposed antitrust legislation that could result in major changes in the tech industry. The Open App Markets Act, for example, would allow for alternative app stores and alternative in-app payment systems, which Apple wants to avoid.
Back in October, The Information said that the Department of Justice was accelerating its antitrust probe into Apple, with a "flurry" of activity and new subpoenas sent to Apple business partners. Politico says that the case is likely to extend beyond Apple's App Store policies, with the DOJ also exploring whether Apple's control over its devices harms product manufacturers like Tile.
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