Feds May Investigate Apple for iTunes Antitrust Violations

Ryan Whitwam

Apple's recent success is continuing to attract attention from federal antitrust authorities. Sources familiar with the matter are saying the justice Department is starting a preliminary inquiry into anti-competitive practices in Apple's iTunes music store. The investigation will reportedly focus on Apple's ability to influence marketing decisions in the recording industry.

The event that may have precipitated this preliminary action occurred in March, when Billboard Magazine claimed Apple was pressuring music labels to stop taking part in Amazon's promotional deals. Apple was allegedly threatening to withdraw marketing support from labels that worked with Amazon. Another contributing factor is that Apple actually hold more of the music sales market than most people realize. Of all sales (digital and physical), Apple controls 28% of them. In just digital downloads, Apple has a 70% market share.

With this, and the recent  investigation of Apple's new iPhone developer agreement, it's clear federal authorities are watching the Cupertino company more closely than ever. Do you think Apple's behavior is ant-competitive?

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