A report indicates that the U.S. Department of Justice is in the early stages of drafting an antitrust complaint against Apple.
In 2019, the United States government launched an antitrust investigation into Apple’s total control over the App Store. The inquiry also explored how the iPhone maker favors its apps over third-party ones. For the investigation, the DOJ had to speak to a few disgruntled developers on the platform. These include Epic Games, Spotify, and Basecamp. Now it seems the investigation is nearing a decision point.
According to a Politico report, the lawyers at the DOJ are drafting a potential antitrust lawsuit against Apple. The plans are still in the early stages and not yet finalized.
However, a source with direct knowledge of the matter believes the DOJ could file the lawsuit by the end of the year. The report reads:
“Various groups of prosecutors inside DOJ are assembling the pieces for a potential lawsuit, the individual said, adding that the department’s antitrust division hopes to file suit by the end of the year.”
With that said, the Epic case could impact the timing of the Justice Department’s suit against Apple.
The Link Between the Epic Case and DOJ’s Antitrust Lawsuit
In August 2020, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Apple for restricting Fortnite on the App Store. While the game company lost the case, it managed to attract the DOJ prosecutor’s interest.
The ruling in the Epic case was that Apple is not a monopolist. However, the federal judge noted that the tech giant has unfairly restricted access to its devices. As such, Apple must enable third-party payment systems across its platform.
Since both companies are appealing, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled an October hearing. The DOJ will likely wait for the appeal’s outcome to decide how to frame its antitrust lawsuit against Apple.