DOJ antitrust lawsuit against Apple expected as soon as March

Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the US Department of Justice was in the late stages of preparing a major antitrust lawsuit against Apple. Now Bloomberg has reported on the status of the DOJ antitrust effort, reporting that the lawsuit could be filed as early as March.

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From Leah Nylen at Bloomberg today:

Antitrust enforcers allege that Apple has imposed software and hardware limitations on its iPhones and iPads to impede rivals from effectively competing, echoing concerns raised by Spotify Technology SA, bluetooth tracker Life360 Inc.’s Tile and messaging service Beeper. The Justice Department and Apple lawyers have met three times to discuss a potential suit, said the people, speaking anonymously to discuss an ongoing probe.

The Justice Department hopes to file a suit in the first quarter of the year, though that timing could slip, the people said, as the DOJ’s most senior antitrust officials haven’t yet signed off on the complaint. The agency has been probing the company since 2019, but chose to prioritize its twin cases against Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Apple has defended itself against antitrust claims by insisting that it does not hold a monopoly in any market. However, the wide sweeping investigation is expected to encompass new areas such as Apple not allowing cloud gaming services, how AirTags integrate with iPhone, and iMessage exclusivity to Apple devices.

The news comes one day after the Supreme Court declined to hear the Apple/Epic case, forcing Apple to make major changes for App Store policy.

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