Apple could soon be the subject of a federal antitrust lawsuit, according to a report from The New York Times. The publication says that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is in the “late stages” of an investigation into Apple and its moves to keep customers locked into its ecosystem.
The DOJ’s investigation is looking at how Apple blocks rivals from using iMessage as well as how the Apple Watch works better when used with the iPhone when compared to watches from other brands, the Times reports. Additionally, investigators are reportedly examining how Apple prevents other financial providers from using iPhone-specific payment services.
The investigation isn’t set in stone just yet, as senior DOJ officials are still reviewing the investigation’s results, sources tell the Times. Apple reportedly met with the DOJ “multiple times” as recently as December, but it still hasn’t held a final meeting with the agency where it will have to defend its practices. The DOJ could file its lawsuit against Apple as soon as the first half of 2024, according to the Times.
The Verge reached out to Apple with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.
In February of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported the DOJ was in the process of escalating its investigation into Apple. The iPhone maker has drawn antitrust scrutiny several times in the recent past, including when it repeatedly shut down the iMessage app for Android made by Beeper late last year.
Apple isn’t the only Big Tech company dealing with antitrust concerns right now. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a massive antitrust lawsuit against Amazon last year, and Google agreed to pay $700 million in December to settle antitrust charges. Microsoft is also still facing scrutiny from the FTC over its deal to acquire Activision Blizzard.