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Apple was accused of blocking rivals from accessing hardware and software features of its iPhone, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

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U.S. Department Of Justice To Sue Apple For Antitrust Violation, Blocking Rivals From Accessing iPhone Features –Report

The U.S. Department of Justice, DOJ, is moving to sue Apple by Thursday for allegedly violating antitrust laws.

Taking action against Big Tech has been one of the few ideas that Democrats and Republicans have agreed on. During the Donald Trump administration, which ended in 2021, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) opened probes into Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

It is not clear what the focus of the charges would be, but makers of hardware devices, like smart-tracker maker Tile, have long complained that Apple has restricted the ways in which they can work with the iPhone’s sensors while developing competing products that have greater access, Reuters reports.

Apple began selling AirTags – which can be attached to items like car keys to help users find them when they are lost – several years after Tile had been selling a similar product.

Similarly, Apple has restricted access to a chip in the iPhone that allows for contactless payments. Credit cards can only be added to the iPhone by using Apple’s own Apple Pay service.

Apple has long argued that it restricts access to some user data and some of the iPhone’s hardware by third-party developers for privacy and security reasons.

The iPhone maker has also faced criticism over its iMessage service, which only works on Apple devices. Critics have complained that the company has disadvantaged messages sent to and received from Android phones by shrinking pictures and videos.

Last year, Apple changed course and said it would support a new messaging technology called RCS, which has been promoted by Google as a way to make messaging smoother across different types of devices.

Late in February, Bloomberg News reported that Apple representatives met with Justice Department officials in a bid to persuade the agency not to file an antitrust suit against the iPhone maker.

A new antitrust suit against Apple would be the third by the Justice Department in the past 14 years, but it is the first case accusing the iPhone maker of illegally maintaining its dominant position, Bloomberg reported.

 

Apple is also in the midst of an antitrust-related tussle with “Fortnite” videogame maker Epic Games.

 

Earlier in the day, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Elon Musk’s X and Match Group joined Epic Games’ protest that Apple has failed to honour a court-ordered injunction governing payments in its lucrative App Store.

 

The technology giants behind some of the most popular apps in the App Store said Apple was in “clear violation” of the September 2021 injunction by making it difficult to steer consumers to cheaper means to pay for digital content.

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