Apple's Music Business Being Looked Into By Justice Department

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News Posted: Thu, May 27 2010 12:18 PM
Apple's iTunes service has revolutionized the music industry. There's little debating that. Since it was introduced in 2003, CD sales have continued to slide, while iTunes sales have continued to soar. Apple has somehow managed to not only beat out Wal-Mart in overall music sales in the United States, but trounce it. Currently, iTunes accounts for 28% of all music sales in America, while Amazon and Wal-Mart are tied for second place with 12% each. That's domination.

But that domination brings eyes, and now the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether or not Apple's music practices are all within the realm of the law. These inquiries aren't uncommon; many huge corporations are investigated to make sure that antitrust laws aren't being broken, and this particular investigation is said to be in the very earliest of stages. According to "several people briefed on the conversations," Apple is being questioned about "recent allegations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give the online retailer exclusive access to music about to be released."

No official statements have been made by any company involved, and obviously we're nowhere near Apple facing any sort of penalty (or even being proven guilty), but this definitely raises some interesting concerns. With the music business shifting so quickly from physical to digital format, Apple really needs some competition. One major reason that people default to iTunes is the popularity of the iPhone and iPod; other services generally "work" with these devices, but the syncing isn't nearly as streamlined.

We suspect that the outcome of this will be interesting to watch, and depending on the decisions that are made, this could definitely impact the future of digital downloads and music consumption.
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Recently Apple has really been under the microscope and it's brought a lot of people to start looking into it as well. I mean, I personally knew that Apple doesn't have a clean slate, it's just that they are (were) very good at hiding it.

It will be interesting to watch and see what unfolds. But for all we know, people may be falsely accusing Apple of this malpractice because of their market dominations.

Just keep an eye open.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, May 27 2010 7:59 PM

I don't know. Every day I think to myself, "Is Apple becoming the new Microsoft?" and in a way. I find that to be true more and more each day. Basically iTunes is the most popular music store there is, mainly because they associate it with the iPod and the iPhone (which sell alot btw), There are other choices but like the article says, not one of them works as well as iTunes. The mac version is good but I don't particually like the Windows version for one reason, forcing me to install QuickTime. Since Windows 7 included the codecs to play the same files QuickTime to play, what's the point in having QuickTime anymore.

And then there's the propriatary stuff. Apple is basically the only company that I know of (if there are any others...) that make you send your Mac to Apple if your battery has died, so not only is there some issue with this but they're forcing us to rely on Apple instead of some third party for batteries. While I do appreciate the long lasting batteries that Apple makes, I do not appreciate having to rely on Apple for simple things I should be able to do myself.

Also, we should be able to configure our machines the way we want to. I mean the Mac Pro is the only easily configurable machine there is, and that's a machine for workstations. Now if only Apple can make machines that we can upgrade instead of forcing us to buy the next iteration for thousands of dollars.


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Xylem replied on Fri, May 28 2010 1:09 AM

I jus saw this -

Like TaylorKarras said, they are indeed becoming another MS.

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Google's going to take over the world so Apple is going to have to try really hard to top that muhahahah.

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Apple is and always has been more controlling than Microsoft. I would hate to see them as the dominate desktop solution. I also really hate Itunes and they way it wants to install Quicktime and safari and then bug me all the darn time to update these programs that itunes installed because I installed it quick and didn't uncheck the boxes. It also runs like a slow pile of crap.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, May 29 2010 9:54 AM

>> I would hate to see them as the dominate desktop solution.


I think the perfect mix for the consumer would be 1/3rd MS, 1/3rd Apple, and 1/3rd *nix-type OSes like FreeBSD and Linux. I don't want any one company/platform to have a majority, or else interoperability will suffer.

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