DOJ to sue Apple in antitrust case, source says

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The Department of Justice plans to sue Apple over allegations of violating antitrust law, according to a source familiar with the lawsuit.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and other top DOJ officials are set to make an announcement later Thursday. The DOJ declined to comment when asked about the possible lawsuit.

Apple has been the focus of antitrust scrutiny for years, most recently for its app store. Apple has been in a protracted legal battle with Epic Games, a video game developer that argues the ubiquity of iPhones have essentially turned Apple’s App Store into a monopoly.

It is unclear whether the DOJ’s Thursday lawsuit will pertain to this.

APPLE ESCALATES EPIC GAMES FEUD BY BLOCKING FORTNITE APP IN EU

Epic accused Apple of violating U.S. antitrust rules in 2020 by charging up to 30% commissions on in-app payments on its iPhone Operating System (iOS) devices.

Apple reversed its decision to block Fortnite video game developer Epic Games from launching its own online marketplace for iPhones and iPads in Europe on Friday.

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The move to allow Epic to proceed with its plans follows the European Union’s deadline last Thursday, requiring big tech companies to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is a set of rules banning Apple and Google from controlling which apps can be distributed on devices with iOS or Android operating systems.

Epic Games

Regulators reportedly warned Apple about its decision to block Epic’s potential return, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said.

“I take note with satisfaction that following our contacts, Apple decided to backtrack its decision on Epic exclusion,” Breton posted on X. “From Day 2, #DMA is already showing very concrete results.”

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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland

Epic ultimately lost its court battle on U.S. antitrust rules violations, however, and the game maker’s plan to break Apple’s rules in protest got the popular Fortnite game banned from Apple devices. While Friday’s decision is a victory for Epic, it still falls short of everything it would like from Apple.

Meanwhile, the EU slapped Apple with a $2 billion fine earlier in March on antitrust grounds, citing App Store rules.

Fox Business’ Greg Wehner contributed to this report 

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