The Department of Justice (DOJ) may be close to launching an antitrust lawsuit against Apple after a years-long investigation.
The DOJ began investigating Apple’s App Store practices in 2019, but the investigation eventually widened to include the company’s interaction with other hardware developers. According to Politico, the agency is close to a decision and could proceed with a lawsuit in the near future.
Apple’s App Store serves as the only way to install applications on the company’s iPhones and iPads. Initially lauded as a breakthrough for small developers, sentiment has soured in recent years, with many developers wanting to avoid Apple’s fees or avoid the App Store altogether.
The company has also faced increasing criticism from other hardware makers, such as smart-tracking device maker Tile, who claims the company makes it difficult for them to integrate their products with iOS.
According to Politico, no decision has been reached, but officials are looking at the App Store, as well as Apple’s mobile operating systems in general.
Making a case against Apple will not be an easy matter. Epic Games sued Apple in an effort to circumvent the App Store and the mandatory use of Apple’s payment processing system. Epic largely failed in making its case, with the judge ruling that Apple was not a monopoly. The only victory Epic scored was the judge ruling that Apple cannot prevent developers from using third-party payment systems. Both companies have appealed the ruling.
Politico believes the DOJ will wait to see how the appeals court rules in the Epic case before making a final decision on whether to proceed with an antitrust suit.