Exclusive: U.S. Justice Dept considering Apple probe – sources
The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo. REUTERS/File Photos
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has jurisdiction for a potential probe of Apple Inc as part of a broader review of whether technology giants are using their size to act in an anti-competitive manner, two sources told Reuters.
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) met in recent weeks and agreed to give the Justice Department the jurisdiction to undertake potential antitrust probes of Apple and Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, the sources said.
The FTC was given jurisdiction to look at Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc, the sources said.
The sources did not say what the government’s potential concern might be regarding Apple.
Streaming music leader Spotify Technology SA and others have criticized the iPhone maker’s practices, describing the company as anti-competitive in a complaint to the European Union’s antitrust regulators. Central to Spotify’s complaint is a 30% fee Apple charges content-based service providers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company has defended its practices in the past, saying it only collects a commission if a good or service is sold through an app. “Our users trust Apple – and that trust is critical to how we operate a fair, competitive store for developer app distribution,” it has said previously.
Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by G Crosse and Bill Rigby