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Report: DOJ’s Apple Antitrust Suit Could Land Thursday

Apple, Legal, Lawsuit

The Justice Department’s antitrust suit against Apple could reportedly arrive as soon as Thursday (March 21).

That’s according to a report by Bloomberg News, citing sources familiar with the matter. The suit would accuse the tech giant of violating antitrust laws by preventing competitors from accessing hardware and software features of the iPhone.

The suit also marks another front in the Biden administration’s antitrust battle against Big Tech companies like Google — already being sued by the Justice Department — and Meta and Amazon.

PYMNTS has contacted Apple and the Justice Department for comment but has not yet gotten a reply.

As the Bloomberg report notes, the suit is happening while Apple is facing antitrust pressure in Europe as well. Earlier this month, the company was fined nearly $2 billion for allegedly abusing its position in the music streaming market.

The European Commission accuses Apple of restricting app developers from telling iOS users about alternative and less costly music subscription services — such as rival Spotify — something that is outlawed by Europe’s antitrust regulations.

Apple has said it would appeal the decision, and has criticized what it called the EC’s “failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm.”

Elsewhere this week, Meta, Microsoft, X and Match Group asked a judge to reject Apple’s plan for allowing outside payment options in its App Store.

The tech firms contend that Apple’s proposal goes against a ruling from 2021 that declared Apple in violation of California’s unfair competition laws, requiring the company to allow app developers to direct users to their own payment systems.

As Epic Games did in its own antitrust fight with Apple, these companies argue that Apple’s plan places new restrictions on app developers, thereby hindering price competition.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS on Wednesday examined Apple’s antitrust troubles through the lens of advances in contactless payments enabled by near-field communication (NFC) technology, driven further by the integration of this tech into wearable devices.

Apple has offered to grant competitors and third parties access to the NFC chip on iPhones, in hopes of resolving a longstanding EU antitrust case.

“With various stakeholders, including wearable technology players, vying for prominence in this rapidly evolving landscape, the future of contactless payments remains dynamic and full of possibilities,” PYMNTS wrote. “The potential resolution of the EU antitrust case against Apple could pave the way for increased competition and innovation in the contactless payment market, benefiting consumers and driving further innovation in the payments space.”