Apple under threat of antitrust lawsuit from US Department of Justice

After Google, Apple would be the new target of the antitrust section of the US Department of Justice. According to information from Politico, the lawyers of the ministry would have started to gather elements against Cupertino and started the drafting of a future complaint. They have the ambition to file it by the end of 2022, if the ministry gives the green light.

Apple, a rather spared GAFA

In Europe, and more specifically in the Netherlands, Apple was forced to review the policy of its application store. The App Store is forced to open up to third-party payment systems for dating apps. It is also on this ground that the studio at the origin of FortniteEpic Games, in the United States.

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This time it is the United States Department of Justice that is about to enter the fray. According to the sources of Politico, the lawsuit prepared against the Apple brand would be broader than the App Store. Apple could be accused of abuse of a dominant position stifling application developers, but also hardware manufacturers.

US prosecutors are particularly interested in a lawsuit filed by Tile. The company offers devices to find lost objects. A description that is reminiscent of AirTags, direct competitors of Tile. Company officials had testified to Congress that Apple had complicated access to its location data, hampering its business.

So far Apple has been relatively spared by US antitrust authorities. Facebook, Amazon and Google have all faced lawsuits in recent years. The biggest investigation of the department of justice concerns Google and its search engine, a second complaint would be in preparation on the advertising activity of Mountain View.

The Department of Justice treads softly

A complaint against Apple, coming from the department, would be the first since the election of Democrat Joe Biden. The latter has made the antitrust fight against the digital giants one of his priorities. He relies in particular on the Federal Trade Commission, the other major competition authority in the United States, itself active against Amazon. In Congress, bipartisan bills are being passed to limit the power of GAFAM.

At the moment, uncertainty surrounds the Justice Department’s action against Apple. No final decision has yet been made. Politico reports that it will be heavily tied to the conclusion of the Epic Games v. Apple case.

During the trial for monopolistic practice, a first judge dismissed all but one of the video game studio’s claims about third-party in-app payment systems. Both parties decided to appeal. The trial is expected to take place in October. Lawyers from the Department of Justice, present during the three weeks of trial proceedings, should once again carefully observe the legal confrontation. They intend to draw inspiration from it when formulating their possible action.

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