Government budget woes could delay DOJ lawsuit against Apple

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A Justice Department decision to bring antitrust lawsuits against Apple and Google could be delayed until March 2022 or later because of continuing discussions and federal government budget concerns.

Previously, the Department of Justice planned on completing its probes of Apple and Google by Dec. 31. However, discussions about where to file the complaints and who should make the call are delaying that decision until March or later, Politico reported Thursday.

Government budget concerns are also playing a part. The expense of a court battle against tech giants like Apple and Google is reportedly fraught amid the collapse of the Build Back Better social spending bill. The bill would have given the DOJ $500 million antitrust enforcement.

Although Senate Democrats are planning on holding a vote on the $1.7 trillion bill in January, the DOJ is reportedly mulling which antitrust cases can move forward with its current level of funding. However, sources within the DOJ maintain that decisions will be based on legal merit.

The Justice Department first launched an investigation of Apple back in 2019. Back in October, reports indicated that the department's probe of Apple was accelerating and that a lawsuit was likely.

In Google's case, the DOJ sued the Mountain View tech giant in 2020, alleging that the company uses its power to stamp out competition. However, Politico reports that the DOJ's Google probe is still ongoing, and that it could result in a new lawsuit.