Apple Music Business in Antitrust Crosshairs

Amazon says it intimidated record labels
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2010 10:12 AM CDT
Apple Music Business in Antitrust Crosshairs
Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the new iTunes at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The Justice Department is investigating whether something might be rotten in Apple's music business, sources tell the New York Times, focusing on whether the tech behemoth threw its weight into dissuading record labels from giving Amazon exclusives. Amazon wanted the exclusive right to sell certain songs for one day before wider release, and offered to promote them in its “MP3 Daily Deal” section.

Apple allegedly warned that anyone participating in the promotion wouldn't get any marketing support on iTunes. Sources say the investigation, which is in its infancy, has also looked broadly at the overall dynamics of the online music business. “It raises the possibility of potential serious problems down the road for Apple,” says one antitrust lawyer, though “Without knowing what acts they are targeting, it's difficult to say exactly how big a problem this is.” (More Apple stories.)

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