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back to article DoJ pokes Apple digital music biz practices, says report

US Feds are reportedly investigating Apple’s online digital music business practices. According to the New York Times, which cites several people familiar with the matter, the antitrust probe is in its early stages and has involved discussions with major music labels and internet music companies. It’s understood that …

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Go

*Gets Popcorn*

Munch munch munch

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Pint

Pass that here?

Ill bring the beer

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What about...

What about them using their dominance in digital music sales to lock out non-iPods from iTunes (and vice versa?) as proven by the Pre shenanigans. If that's not anti-competitive behaviour then I really don't know what is.

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FAIL

Oh FFS.

The Pré was never "locked out". Other non-iPod devices manage to sync with iTunes libraries just fine. That's what the XML file in the folder is *for*.

Palm's mistake was *violating the USB standard*, so that their product appeared to be an *Apple-branded iPod.* This was a bloody stupid policy decision and Palm deserved everything they got.

The folks in charge of the USB standard were no happier than Apple for breaking the USB protocols and gave Palm the damned good telling-off they deserved.

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Meh

"""Palm's mistake was *violating the USB standard*, so that their product appeared to be an *Apple-branded iPod.*"""

As far as I recall, Palm didn't break the standards until after Apple blocked the Pre for the first time, by validating the USB vendor ID was correct. Then Palm spoofed the vendor ID and complained that white listing IDs was, itself, against the standard.

Still, Apple undeniably acted in a manner which may be described as 'rather douche-like.'

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Paris Hilton

Let me just get this straight...

So, Amazon wants to corner the market with an exclusive track/album (i.e. prevent any other retailer from selling the track until 24 hours after Amazon creamed the early customers).

Apple appear to be using their (not inconsiderable) influence the make the same deal available to all customers at the same time (i.e. iTunes, Amazon, 7digital and so on), and subject to each retailers individual pricing and promotional methods.

Right. Obviously, Apple are evil monopolists and want to crush customer choice. Aren't we lucky that Amazon sending forth its winged monkeys...er, I mean, that the DoJ is standing up for the little guy.

Paris, because she knows all about letting people have exclusive access twenty four hours before allowing everyone to see the goods.

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Gates Halo

@guybles

What is it with Apple apologists?

How is a 24 hour exclusive cutting anyone else out of the market? Not everybody goes rushing to buy something the instant it is released.

That seems far less restrictive than other anti-competitive practices by the almighty Jobs such as giving one mobile carrier EXCLUSIVE rights to sell the iphone for TWO YEARS.

I don't even need to mention all the other anti-competitive practices by Apple, they have been covered on here many times over but they do make Microsoft look saintly by comparison

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Megaphone

Dear Steve (Balmer)

Not apologising, just trying to understand. Feel free to explain what is going on, based on the facts presented. Please try not to resort to shouting, a spurious example selected from "Hating Apple for Dummies" and vague, unsubstantiated references to "other anti-competitive practices".

My interpretation of an "exclusive" is that nobody else can buy the product except from an approved supplier. It may only be for 24 hours, it may be for two years. The principle is exactly the same.

I don't disagree that Apple's business practices are biased in their favour, but nobody forces you buy an iPhone, get your music from iTunes, run Mac OS X on your iMac or even have anything to do with Apple in the first place.

If you want to argue with Apple apologists, go and comment on Roughly Drafted. I'd just like a little clarity here.

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Clarity

I believe the deal here is that Apple is saying 'Look if you sign this 24 hour arrangement with Amazon we'll lock you out of iTunes entirely. They don't say if it's an entire catalog banning or just the Amazon play but either way it's dirty pool.

In the end though online distribution is such a new field it's about time the DoJ started looking at it even if it's just to stay informed on what's going on. Remember an investigation is in no way an indictment.

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Pint

Re: Clarity

The original Billboard article is a little fuzzy on what Apple has threatened - the only thing that Apple is specified as doing is "withdrawing marketing support for certain releases featured as Daily Deals". Which, I will agree, is a pretty sly thing to do with a brand new release, but not the same as banning anything from iTunes.

Still, you make a good point about the DoJ getting in now, learning the market and (hopefully) reminding the players to behave themselves. Thank you for making shrewd observation without the random anti-Apple mentality that seems to haunt these forums so often.

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What anti-competitive means

Remember that competition law isn't about giving consumers what they want, it's to establish a level playing field so there are no unfair blocks preventing another manufacturer entering a particular market.

If Apple have a dominant music store and were to tell artists and record labels "we'll only sell your stuff if you agree not to sell it elsewhere" that would be anti-competitive, because it would make it difficult for other people to set up their own new music store as they wouldn't be able to find anything to sell.

If Apple tell Palm "you can't use iTunes to sync to the Pre", there's nothing to stop Palm developing their own music store and synching software, so it's not anti-competitive.

If Apple tell Verizon we'll only sell the iPhone through AT&T, there's nothing stopping Verizon selling other smart phones, so it's not anti-competitive.

In other news, Apple today overtook Microsoft in market capitalisation. It's only about 10 or 12 years ago that Microsoft was 100x bigger than Apple! Apple had better start getting used to increased scrutiny from regulators and be extremely careful in their business practices therefore.

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Silver badge
Linux

Sounds strangely familiar

"withdrawing marketing support for certain releases featured as Daily Deals"

Ahh, yes, that's the Microsoft method of keeping their partners from offering other Operating Systems on their hardware.

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