Texas AG Leads Multi-State Consumer Protection Probe Into Apple

Apple To Reopen Approximately 100 US Retail Locations

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a multi-state probe against Apple Inc.

Axios reported the investigation is examining Apple’s possible use of deceptive trade practices that may have broken consumer protection laws. While details of the inquiry are unclear, the probe may lead to the latest lawsuit against Apple.

Paxton may sue Apple for violating the state’s deceptive trade practices law in connection, Axios reported.

Apple declined to comment, and a spokesperson for Paxton said the office does not comment on pending or potential investigations, according to Axios.

This is the latest legal challenge faced by the multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California. Last month, the European Union (EU) opened two antitrust investigations into the tech giant, focusing on the company’s App Store and Apple Pay.

“It appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites,” European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who focuses on competition policy, said. “It also reserves the ‘tap and go’ functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay. It is important that Apple’s measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation and competitive prices.”

The EU wants to determine whether Apple Pay violates rules by limiting access other firms have to its near-field communication (NFC) functionality. Apple embeds NFC in devices such as the iPhone and Apple Watch, and limits access to it. As a result, other firms offering consumers the ability to make payments can’t leverage the functionality into their apps.

In a separate investigation, Rakuten and Spotify complained that Apple takes a 30 percent commission from product and services sales made through the App Store.

On Monday (July 27), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai are set to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee antitrust panel as part of the investigation into big tech companies by Congress.