Apple expected to be sued by feds over antitrust violations in Biden admin’s latest big tech fight: report

Apple iPhone and CEO Tim Cook
Apple iPhone and CEO Tim Cook

The Justice Department is poised to sue Apple as soon as Thursday for allegedly violating antitrust laws by blocking rivals from accessing hardware and software features of its iPhone, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

The lawsuit, which is expected to be filed in federal court, escalates the Biden administration’s antitrust fights against most of the biggest technology companies in the US, the report said.

Apple is accused of blocking rivals from accessing hardware and software features of its iPhone. REUTERS
Apple is accused of blocking rivals from accessing hardware and software features of its iPhone. REUTERS

The case marks the third time that the Justice Department has sued Apple for antitrust violations in the past 14 years, but is the first case accusing the iPhone maker of illegally maintaining its dominant position, the report added.

Apple and a DOJ spokesperson did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Late in February, Bloomberg News had reported that Apple representatives met with Justice Department officials in a bid to persuade the agency not to file an antitrust suit against the iPhone maker.

Apple is also in the midst of an antitrust-related tussle with “Fortnite” videogame maker Epic Games.

Earlier in the day, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Elon Musk’s X and Match Group joined Epic Games’ protest that Apple has failed to honor a court-ordered injunction governing payments in its lucrative App Store.

This is the first case accusing the iPhone maker of illegally maintaining its dominant position. Above, CEO Tim Cook. AFP/Getty Images
This is the first case accusing the iPhone maker of illegally maintaining its dominant position. Above, CEO Tim Cook. AFP/Getty Images

The technology giants behind some of the most popular apps in the App Store said Apple was in “clear violation” of the September 2021 injunction by making it difficult to steer consumers to cheaper means to pay for digital content.

Taking action against Big Tech has been one of the few ideas that Democrats and Republicans have agreed on. During the Trump administration, which ended in 2021, the Justice Department and FTC opened probes into Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

The Justice Department has sued Google twice – once under Donald Trump regarding its search business and a second time on advertising technology since President Biden took office. The FTC sued Facebook during the Trump administration and Biden’s FTC has pressed forward with the lawsuit.

Shares of the company were down 1.5% at $175.97 in extended trading.