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Apple facing antitrust inquiry over iTunes

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iTunes

The Justice Department is looking into Apple’s business practices in the market for digital music, according to a New York Times report. Citing several people briefed on conversations between Justice Department staff, major music labels and Internet music companies, the report states that the antitrust inquiry is in its early stages, and talks thus far have broadly dealt with selling music online. In particular, investigators have asked about allegations that Apple used its dominant position in the market to keep music labels from giving Amazon early access to new release music. Billboard reported in March that Apple had begun pressuring labels to stop participating in Amazon’s MP3 Daily Deal promotions after the latter began asking for one-day exclusives prior to the featured albums’ release dates as well as digital marketing support in exchange for Daily Deal placement. Apple commands a 69 percent share of the digital music market, according to data from the NPD Group, compared to only 8 percent for second-place Amazon MP3.

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Amazon to Record Companies:
We want Exclusive Releases!

Apple to Record Companies:
If Amazon get Exclusive Releases, we won’t be able to showcase your music, because it would be, you know, _Exclusive_ to Amazon. That’s what Exclusive means.

Record Companies to Amazon:
Go away, you don’t matter to us!

Amazon to Justice Department:
Boo Hoo Hoo. Our Predatory Business Model is being predated upon!

Posted by Dan Woods on May 26, 2010 at 9:30 PM (PDT)

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