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Apple up to its anti-trust antics again

by on13 July 2015

Watchdog starts snuffling

Not contented being caught red-handed trying to raise the cost of ebooks, the fruity cargo cult Apple is attempting to sting its rivals in the music business. 

Apple came late to the streaming music business with its Apple Music and to make any impact it feels it has to take out Jango, Spotify and Rhapsody without the regulators noticing.

Apparently it is a big fail on the last point. Already US government antitrust regulators are looking into claims about whether Apple's treatment of rival streaming music apps is illegal under antitrust law.

Jobs' Mob provides the App Store platform for competing streaming services including Jango, Spotify, Rhapsody and others. However it demands that they pay 30 per cent and has a byzantine system of rules that they most follow.

The streaming companies are moaning that Apple's cut forces them to either charge more in the App Store than they do on other platforms or erode their profit margins.

The Federal Trade Commission is looking at the issue but has not begun a formal investigation. The agency has had meetings with multiple concerned parties, one source said. The agency meets with companies routinely, and a formal investigation may not materialize.

The Tame Apple Press has been interviewing lawyers who claim that the competitors have not got a leg to stand on because Apple never breaks the law – ever.

But it does not look like the watchdogs are going to go away. Although the 30 per cent cut is a show stopper, the rules that Apple forces its rivals to agree to are simply bizarre.

These include a prohibition on advertising in the app that the company is on other platforms, a ban on marketing in the app that consumers can also buy directly from the company's website, and a ban on linking to a company's website from within the app.

Although Google also offers a music subscription service and charges a 30 percent transaction fee in its app store, its policies for app sales have drawn less ire from rival streaming services. Industry sources say the company places fewer restrictions on those transactions.

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