The U.S. Department of Justice has escalated its antitrust probe into Apple in recent months, according to The Wall Street Journal. Specifically, the report claims additional litigators have been assigned to the case and new requests have been submitted for documents and consultations with companies connected to the investigation.
As part of the probe, the report claims the Justice Department is looking into Apple’s App Store business practices and whether iOS favors Apple’s own apps and services over those provided by third-party developers and other companies.
Apple declined to comment on the report, but the company has previously denied that it operates anticompetitively and said it welcomes competition on the App Store.
The investigation began in 2019, when the Justice Department inquired about Apple’s policies surrounding the App Store and met with developers to learn more about the App Store’s review process. If the Justice Department chooses to move forward with a complaint, then Apple would face an antitrust lawsuit by the U.S. government.
Apple has been accused of or investigated for anticompetitive practices in several other countries over the past few years, including the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, and more, with many of the complaints related to the App Store. As a result, Apple has been forced to make changes to the App Store in some countries, such as allowing developers to offer alternative payment systems in South Korea.
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