A prospective antitrust case against Apple is being drafted by Justice Department lawyers.
An anonymous source with detailed knowledge of the situation told Politico, this is an indication that a long-running investigation may be reaching a conclusion and that a lawsuit may be on the way.
The source claimed several groups of prosecutors inside the Deparment of Justice are compiling the materials for a future case.
The department’s antitrust division intends to bring the suit before the end of the year.
However, the Justice Department has not decided whether or not to sue Apple, the world’s most valuable public company.
Two anonymous sources warned that it’s still conceivable that no charges will be filed.
Both were allowed anonymity in order to discuss a private probe.
The complaint would be the next major legal issue for the country’s largest digital corporations, coming two years after federal authorities and other states brought antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook.
READ MORE: FORMER APPLE CAR ENGINEER ADMITS TRADE SECRET THEFT
It would also be the DOJ’s first antitrust complaint against a digital company under President Joe Biden’s tenure.
The Justice Department has been investigating Apple since 2019 on charges that it misused its market influence to restrict smaller tech businesses, including app developers and rival hardware manufacturers.
A suit has grown increasingly inevitable as the inquiry has advanced, but the move to writing portions of the claim is a big step ahead in the process.
READ MORE: APPLE LAYS OFF RECRUITERS IN DRIVE TO LIMIT HIRING AND SPENDING
The DOJ declined to comment.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Apple inquiry is part of a larger attempt by Congress, the Justice Department, and the Federal Trade Commission to reign in the tech giants that have grown to dominate the global internet, social media, and online advertising.
The FTC is also investigating Amazon’s retail and cloud computing divisions for antitrust violations.
The Apple lawsuit is crucial because it would kick off a second, major struggle with the tech sector and the DOJ.
The Justice Department is already suing Google over its search business and is drafting a second action against it over its advertising activities.
Much of the focus on a prospective Justice Department action against Apple has been on the App Store, which is the sole option for iPhone and iPad users to download software.
According to the sources, the case the DOJ is currently contemplating goes much beyond the Apple-controlled payment system and the commissions that have long irritated software developers.
Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career
Prosecutors are also investigating if and how Apple’s monopoly over physical devices hurts competitors other than app developers.