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Imminent DOJ antitrust case against Apple is in final pre-filing phase — probably

United States Department of Justice

The United States Department of Justice seems to be in its final stages before filing an antitrust suit against Apple.

It has been a long and winding road if you've been following the DOJ's probe into Apple's business practices. Spotify started the process in 2019 with pushes from Apple's other competitors following suit in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

It was claimed the DOJ was drafting an antitrust complaint against Apple in 2023. Finally, according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has had the customary pre-filing meeting referred to as "last rites" before a lawsuit is filed.

Despite hearing this song and dance for multiple years in a row, the meeting is the truest sign yet that the United States Department of Justice is ready to file an antitrust suit against Apple. The lawsuit would focus on Apple's practices as the judge, jury, and executioner of the App Store and its locked-down operating systems.

The DOJ was likely waiting to see what Apple's response to the EU's Digital Markets Act would be. It developed over 600 APIs to allow third-party app marketplaces to distribute apps outside the App Store.

Now that these changes are implemented in iOS 17.4, there is a chance that the DOJ will attempt to get the same feature changes in the United States. However, there hasn't been universal praise for Apple's so-called malicious compliance.

The lawsuit took years to develop, so don't expect a swift solution. It could take years of litigation before a solution is agreed upon and implemented, not to mention an impending election that could upend a lot of decision-making.