Justice Department Asking Questions About Apple Trying To Block Labels From Offering Deals To Amazon

from the restraint-of-trade... dept

Back in March, we wrote about reports that Apple had gone around and pressured various record labels to stop working with Amazon on its "MP3 Daily Deal" promotion. The reports suggested that Apple had told the labels that it would not promote any releases that were featured as Amazon's Daily Deal. As we noted at the time, this sounded like a classic "restraint of trade" situation that the government tends to frown upon, especially when performed by what might be considered the dominant player in the market. I'm not sure I believe it should be an antitrust issue, but it certainly is the kind of thing that the government gets upset about.

So it should come as little surprise at all to find out, indeed, that the Justice Department is now looking into this. Of course, it's early, and nothing may come of it, but you would still think that Apple would be a bit more careful than blatantly telling partners not to work with a competitor. Or does Steve Jobs hope that his powers of persuasion will wow over the Feds as well?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 8:29am

    Here are the real questions in this issue.

    1. Whose Reality Distortion Field is stronger, Jobs or the Federal Government's?

    2. Who do you root for?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    A Lawyer a Day keeps the Apple Away.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    this is a great example of why companies like apple, google, and microsoft are scary. they have the ability to play in so many markets, that they can use their power in other areas to punish competitors. i think itunes should be spun off and removed from apples control, and i also think that googles ad sales unit should be removed from the search business. too much danger there of results being tilted based on ad spends.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    agraham999, May 26th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Boo Hoo

    You know I'm starting to get a little bored with the whole anti-trust issues when it comes to these poor poor billion dollar companies all sad because they don't feel the other titan is treating them fairly. Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft...I could care less that they feel the need to go to the government to take care of helping them when a gazillion gallons of oil are pouring into the gulf. This is an effective use of tax payer money.

    As for this particular case...I doubt anything will come of it. Apple may have a huge chunk of the emerging online music market, but they do not have a monopoly. I might have more sympathy for Amazon if they weren't a billion dollar company that also wants to control the music biz.

    Perhaps the government should get back to looking into...oh...Bank of America and why they held my mortgage hostage for 3 months while I tried to refinance it with another bank.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    Re: Just Wow

    That's amazingly... dimwitted.
    iTunes is damn near a "loss leader" for Apple. They make pretty much no money from it. The only reason it exists is because it makes the iPod (et al) more valuable by being a 'free' media management/acquisition service.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Bobo Bolinski, May 26th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Apple

    I helps if Gore is on the Board.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Sean T Henry (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 9:29am

    Re: Here are the real questions in this issue.

    The Federal Government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    ac, May 26th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Jobs to Justice Dept...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Just Wow

    "iTunes is damn near a "loss leader" for Apple. "

    You are doing what everyone else does just repeating what you have heard. So show me the money or proof that iTunes is a loss leader.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Just Wow

    You are doing what everyone else does just repeating what you have heard. So show me the money or proof that iTunes is a loss leader.

    It may be a bit out of date, but Steve Jobs has said so in the past:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/11/07/your_99c_belong/


    At an Apple financial analyst conference on Wednesday CEO Steve Jobs admitted that Apple makes no revenue from the online download service, the iTunes Music Store....

    "Most of the money goes to the music companies," admitted Jobs.

    "We would like to break even/make a little bit of money but it's not a money maker," he said, candidly.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    freedom, May 26th, 2010 @ 11:11am

    Revenue = Profit...

    >> that Apple makes no revenue from the online download service, the iTunes Music Store....

    When did revenue mean profit? Apples brings in a ton of revenue from their online store. Profit is a totally different issue.

    Freedom

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Bruce Partington, May 26th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    where's the restraint of trade?

    There'd be a much more convincing case for restraint of trade if Apple dropped the offending products from the iTunes store altogether.

    They didn't, they just refused to promote them. Or are we now believing that product promotion is an entitlement?

    If Apple violated contracts with the labels involved by not promoting their products, then sue them!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    shakir, May 26th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Just Wow

    you could be right if you consider a bricks and mortar store front as a loss leaders as well - as it is a 'free' acquisition device. To extend my point - the entire Amazon site can be likened to the iTunes application - its a free management / acquisition device. But wait dont they sell things there? Just like in iTunes?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 2:14pm

    so why the threats then?

    It seems to me that if Apple isn't making much money off of the itunes store, then there's no reason at all to try and influence the availability of media to other providers--as long as the ipod remains open enough that any media, acquired from any source, will sync and play. Hell, that's creating value/demand for your own platform from other services who happily take on all the risk.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2010 @ 6:02pm

    THIS SUCKS

    O like this sucks because that's where I get some of my SONGS THAT I DOWNLOAD!!!Geez!!!!!

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    hitesh joshi, May 26th, 2010 @ 10:29pm

    that's a good post.i enjoy reading it.thanks for it.

    Hitesh joshi
    http://hiteshjoshi.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    cuband, May 27th, 2010 @ 12:35am

    Oh, Apple

    Apple has become the new Microsoft. I hope that sometime soon they get slapped on the wrist for all of the anti-consumer stuff that they currently get away with. It's only a matter of time..

     

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  18.  
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    Overtkill (profile), May 27th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    Re: Oh, Apple

    Ditto! :)

    My thinking exactly!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    agraham999, May 27th, 2010 @ 6:32pm

    I'm sorry...

    exactly what anti-consumer stuff do they do? Has Apple forced anyone to buy their products? Apple doesn't support Flash...perhaps that's one thing you are referring to...should I expect Android to support Silverlight native in their operating system because some people might want it? Or maybe you are upset that they are anti-consumer because they don't allow you to buy music from other vendors and put it on an iPod or buy music from iTunes and put it on a Zune. Oh wait...they allow all that as well.

    I'd really like to know what they do that is so anti-consumer???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    MAURICE M. CARTER, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    MONOPOLY

    APPLE , GGOGLE, AMAZONCOM ARE PIKERS WITH THEIR BILLION DOLLAR MONOPLOLIES. NOT THAT THE LAW SHOULD NOT BE ENFORCED.
    BUT DONT HOLD YOUR BREATH TOO LONG.

    THE OIL COMPAINIES ARE OPERATING MONOPOLIES ON A TRILLION DOLLAR SCALE AND NO ONE IN THE FEDERAL GOVT IS CONCERNED.

    THE OIL COMPANIES OPERATING IN PA ARE CONDUCTING FRAUD O A SCALE SO LARGE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVT SOES NOT WANT TO LOOKSLOOK INTO IT BECASUE OF THEIR FEAR THAT THE OIL COMPANIES MAY NOTICE THEIR DEPART;MENTS AND ARRANGE VIA CONGRESS TO HAVE THEM ELIMINATED. THE OIL COMPONEIS HAVE DIVIDED UP TERRITORIES, SET LABOR COSLLS, SET DRILLING LEASE PRICE COSTS ON A GIGANTICE SCALE SO THAT THEY WILL MAKE ONLY ONE THOUSNAD PERCENT PROFIT FROM SELLIN LEASE TO FOREIGN CONTRIES . THEY ARE MAKING THESE MONOPOLU PROFITS BY SPECUATING TO BUYIN ANDF SELLING OF LEASE. THEY HAVE NO DEED TO INCUR THE EXPENSE OF ACTUALLY DRILLIN.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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