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U.S. Justice Department may sue Apple tomorrow for allegedly violating antitrust laws

The U.S. Justice Department is poised to sue Apple as soon as Thursday, accusing the tech giant of violating antitrust laws by blocking rivals from accessing hardware and software features of its iPhone, according to Bloomberg.

The suit, which is expected to be filed in federal court escalates the Biden administration’s antitrust fights against most of the biggest US technology giants, the article adds. The Justice Department is already suing Alphabet Inc.’s Google for monopolization, while the Federal Trade Commission is pursuing antitrust cases against Meta Platforms Inc. and Inc.

The case marks the third time that the Justice Department has sued Apple for antitrust violations in the past 14 years, but is the first case accusing the tech giant of illegally maintaining its dominant position, the report added.

Apple representatives purportedly met with U.S. Justice Department officials in mid-February in a bid to persuade the agency not to file an antitrust suit against the company. The company and its lawyers are rumored to have met with Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who will make the final call on whether to file a suit.

On January 6, New York Times said the United States Department of Justice has reached “late stages” of its monopoly investigation of Apple. From the article (which requires a subscription to read): Specifically, investigators have examined how the Apple Watch works better with the iPhone than with other brands, as well as how Apple locks competitors out of its iMessage service. They have also scrutinized Apple’s payments system for the iPhone, which blocks other financial firms from offering similar services, these people said.

The Apple suit would likely be even more expansive than previous challenges to the company, attacking its powerful business model that draws together the iPhone with devices like the Apple Watch and services like Apple Pay to attract and keep consumers loyal to its products.

As mentioned, this isn’t Apple’s first brush-up with the DoJ. In 2016, the DoJ asked the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that had favored Apple over Samsung in smartphone patent litigation, and asked that it return the case to the trial court for more litigation. In 2018 the DoJ investigated Apple over the “Batterygate” lawsuit. In 2021 the DoJ investigated complaints from developers over Apple’s “Sign in with Apple” option. And the DoJ has said it may investigate Apple over its battle with the makers of the Beeper Mini app.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
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