Apple Investigated Over AntiTrust Practices

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Antitrust enforcement agencies in the US are tossing up whether or not to formally investigate Apple’s latest publishing terms for media companiesThe Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are eyeing Apple after its recent update of its subscription service for apps in its iTunes store that forces media companies to give Apple a 30% cut of app subscriptions.

The recently updated terms are at risk of funnelling the customers of media companies who offer subscriptions through iTunes into the iTunes payment scheme, which could be a potential breach of US antitrust laws, said the Wall Street Journal.

Under Apple’s latest subscription terms, subscription services like magazines and newspapers can offer their own services elsewhere, but any apps on iTunes would not be allowed to link to outside stores. 

Another catch is that if the same subscription is offered outside of iTunes, it then has to be the same price or cheaper on iTunes. With Apple’s media hub being so popular already, many consumers have more of an incentive to take iTunes offerings over those given straight from the publisher.

Publishers, app developers and other media have been in an uproar over the latest controversial move by Apple, with Sony claiming that publishers are being “held to ransom by Apple.” 

Sony has made a move against iTunes with the launch of its own Qriocity services for video on demand and music, but concedes that it still needs iTunes because of its current primacy in the content market.

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