The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been investigating antitrust issues around Apple since 2019. It was recently announced that the DOJ has “accelerated” its investigation amid a growing number of complaints.
Now, the Information reports that one of the focuses of the DOJ’s antitrust investigation into Apple is on Roblox’s treatment.
Roblox is a popular online gaming platform and game creation system whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, especially among children. The relationship between Roblox and Apple was first put in the spotlight earlier this year as part of Epic’s legal battle against Apple.
Today’s report with Information summarizes the situation:
During the trial, Epic described Roblox in part as a collection of many other games, something that Apple’s rules forbid. By that logic, Epic argued, he should also be allowed to offer his own gaming store – which Apple will not allow. Then Roblox suddenly stopped calling himself a game. At the time, the company said it was already using the term “experience” to refer to its service, and the change was “in line with how we developed our terminology to reflect our realization of the metaverse,” a virtual world trying to develop.
Now, the DOJ is reportedly using this as part of its investigation into antitrust issues around Apple. The report says the DOJ recently asked Roblox itself, as well as other apps that deliver “about the differences between the game and the experience and why Roblox changed the language.”
The consistency with which Apple enforces its rules is unlikely to be the only basis for antitrust violations. But if the DOJ can prove that Apple’s selective implementation is purposeful and aims to put potential rivals at a disadvantage, it could use those findings to support a broader antitrust case.
Today’s report also confirms earlier reports that Apple will “very likely” face an antitrust lawsuit from the DOJ, although “prosecutors in the department are still gathering evidence.”
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