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Posted at 11:28 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Apple may face anti-trust investigation

By Hayley Tsukayama

Apple may be facing an anti-trust investigation over certain policies in its new subscription plan.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are looking closely at Apple's policy that any subscription deal made outside of the app must also be made available in-app for the same price or less.

The new subscription policies were not well received by developers, most notably the music service Rhapsody, which refused to participate in the new policies.

Ars Technica reported that it's likely that music and video companies will lead the push as the FTC and Justice continue the investigation. But those companies will have to show that Apple is the dominant player in the market before anyone can seriously pursue an antitrust investigation. That argument could be complicated by Google's recent launch of its OnePass subscription service.

Apple has faced anti-trust scrutiny before, such as when it took a stance against Adobe's Flash, when it changed its ad platform policies in 2010 or when the Federal Trade Commission looked at the implications of having Google's Eric Schmidt sit on Google’s and Apple's boards in 2009.

The report said the agencies' interest is preliminary and may not lead to an investigation. A spokeswoman for the European Commission said that body is also carefully monitoring the situation.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 18, 2011; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  Antitrust, Apple, DOJ, FTC  
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