After Google, DOJ Tees Up ‘Sweeping Antitrust Case’ vs. Apple

DOJ Antitrust Case Apple
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DOJ Antitrust Case Apple
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Photo Credit: Wes Hicks

A new report from The New York Times suggests the DOJ could be teeing up against Apple in a ‘sweeping antitrust case.’

The NYT suggests the Department of Justice is in the late stages of an investigation into Apple and its practices keeping consumers locked into their ecosystem. Specifically, the DOJ is looking into how Apple blocks rivals from utilizing iMessages, as well as Apple Watch compatibility with iPhone compared to Android phones.

The investigation is still ongoing, according to the Times sources. Apple has reportedly met with DOJ officials as recently as December 2023, but there has not been a final meeting with the agency to defend its practices. But antitrust action could be filed against Apple as soon as the first half of 2024.

Apple’s practices surrounding competitors gaining access to iMessages haven’t lent the company any favors, either. On December 8, three days after a third-party app found a way to allow Android users access to iMessages—Apple shut down the service. Developers of Beeper Mini discovered how to register a phone number with iMessage and have those messages sent back natively inside its app.

That move required the development team to deconstruct Apple’s messaging pipeline in order to route the messages. “The hardest part was cracking was is essentially Apple’s padlock on the whole system—a check to see whether the connected device is a genuine Apple product,” writes The Verge. That little ‘check’ into genuine hardware is most certainly part of the DOJ’s investigation.

Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky’s comments surrounding the issue may also be interesting to investigators. “If Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they stop a service that enables their own users to now send encrypted messages to Android users, rather than using unsecure SMS?”

The U.S. DOJ wrapped up its antitrust case against Google in November 2023, which focused on Google’s anticompetitive practices for its search engine. The DOJ sought to prove that Google is an illegal monopoly and abused its power in favor of its own bottom line—often edging out competitors in the process.