It was not exactly the news Apple wanted to leak, especially at the same time that CEO Tim Cook and other company executives took the stage during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
But an exclusive report from Reuters that representatives of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division met recently with the Federal Trade Commission to give Justice “jurisdiction to undertake potential antitrust probes of Apple and Google” in some circles was already overshadowing Apple’s announcements of updates to iOS and other Apple software, plus the introduction of a new Mac Pro computer.
Reuters pinned its report on unnamed sources.
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Apple’s stock price was down around 1.7% mid-afternoon Monday, even before the WWDC keynote had concluded.
Neither the Justice Department nor Apple has yet responded to a USA TODAY request for comment.
Reuters didn’t go into specifics on the potential government probe, and it is unclear what connection, if any, there is to Alphabet-owned Google.
But Apple has been in the crosshairs of rivals like Spotify, which back in March, claimed Apple isn’t playing fair and is harming consumers. Spotify took its complaint to European Commission antitrust regulators. At the time, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that Spotify wanted to be treated the same as other apps such as Uber and Deliveroo, which were not subjected to what he terms “the Apple tax.” Spotify claims Apple applies the tax to a “targeted” group of rivals.
Apple subsequently disputed Spotify’s claims, which the EU is still investigating.
Apple and Google aren’t the only Silicon Valley companies under possible scrutiny.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the FTC will lead any potential investigation into Facebook, though the article said that it is unclear if the FTC has any “near term” plans to launch such an investigation.
Sources also told Reuters that the FTC was also given authorization to look into Amazon.
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