The US Department of Justice has been granted authority to investigate Apple for potential antitrust violations, according to Reuters.
Today’s news comes after reports that Google is under scrutiny from Justice Department antitrust investigators, with the DOJ reportedly focusing on its advertising and search businesses. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission has been authorized to investigate Facebook and Amazon. It’s not yet clear what actions the Justice Department is taking with Apple or what an antitrust case would focus on.
Apple is currently facing investigation in the European Union, where streaming music provider Spotify accused the company of favoring its own music app and driving up Spotify’s prices with App Store fees. The Supreme Court also ruled last month that it will have to face an antitrust lawsuit brought by iPhone app buyers. It was also involved in an ebook price-fixing antitrust case several years ago, ultimately refunding customers who were found to have over-paid for books.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has also included Apple in a list of tech companies that should be broken up — in Apple’s case, by splitting off the company’s App Store. “Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time,” she said earlier this year.
Even so, Apple hasn’t faced as much backlash as several other big tech companies. President Donald Trump has focused more criticism on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon, and Apple has capitalized on other companies’ woes to promote its own products. As one of the biggest tech companies, though, it seemingly hasn’t escaped antitrust authorities’ gaze.