Apple ‘Very Likely’ To Face DoJ Antitrust Lawsuit – Report

Apple is reportedly facing the increasing likelihood of an official antitrust lawsuit by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

According to a report on Monday by the Information, in the last several months the DoJ has accelerated its two-year-old antitrust probe of the iPhone maker.

It cited two people with knowledge of the investigation as its source, and reported that this development increases the likelihood of a lawsuit.

Apple iPhone 13

Antitrust investigations

It all began back in June 2019 when the DoJ and the FTC prepared their own investigations into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, over antitrust issues.

The United States has been accused in the past of giving huge American tech companies a relatively free hand, even as in Europe firms such as Apple, Facebook and Google have been the target of wide-ranging regulatory probes and massive fines.

In February 2020 app developers were reportedly questioned by the DoJ as part of its antitrust investigation of Apple, and other big name technology giants.

Then in August 2020, a very senior DoJ official confirmed that his department was moving “full-tilt” on its antitrust investigation.

In October 2020, Google was hit (as expected) with a lawsuit from the US DoJ, which alleged the Alphabet division abuses its position to maintain an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising.

In December 2020 another tech giant was targetted when Facebook was hit with two separate antitrust lawsuits – one from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); and the second from a coalition of attorneys general from 48 states and territories.

Apple next?

Now it seems that Apple could be next, after lawyers for the DoJ reportedly asked Apple, its customers and competitors questions about how the company maintains its strict control over the iPhone.

The DoJ has ramped up its investigation since the summer, according to the report, and has sent out a round of subpoenas to Apple’s business partners.

The investigation is very “likely to lead to a lawsuit, though the specifics are still in flux,” according to the Information report.

The DoJ declined to comment on the matter.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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