Apple Faces Multiple DoJ And FTC Inquiries Over Music, Adobe And Mobile Ads

Ripples In The Golden Pond. Apple’s recent honeymoon seems to be short-lived with reports of regulatory scrutiny coming from the Department of Justice and from the Federal Trade Commission on various grounds. The issues at hand: Adobe, music and videos as well as mobile ads.

Honeymoon Period
Last week was indeed a turning point for Apple in many ways.
First, On May 26th, it officially became the biggest technology company, topping the Nasdaq with a $222 billion market capitalization, overtaking Microsoft and standing as number 2 of all U.S. companies right behind Exxon Mobil.

Second, it sold over 2 million iPads in less than 2 months.

So what’s wrong ?

DOJ Inquires Into Alleged Music & Video Price-Fixing
According to Billboard, the DoJ is seeking information from major record labels and has spoken with “a number of digital music services” as part of an initial inquiry over the potential effect of iTunes’ market dominance on pricing.

Amazon sparked Apple’s ire when its Daily Deal service obtained from labels to release tracks on Monday, one day ahead of the Tuesday usual and official release, with a price tag of $3.99-$5.99 per album, versus the standard $9.99. It is alleged that Apple has since thrown its weight around, using its dominant position to prevent labels from participating.

There’s more…

DOJ Probes Apple’s Adobe Stance
Apple also is facing another inquiry over its third-party developers policy, following the company’s much-publicized Adobe stance, confirming our post back on May 3rd.
Citing sources close to the matter, The New York Post indeed reports that the DoJ is talking to the media and technology majors on that matter.
“The [Justice Dept.] is doing outreach,” the Post quoted one Hollywood industry source as saying. “You can’t dictate terms to the industry. The Adobe thing is just inviting the wrath of everybody.”

And that’s not all…

FTC Set To Poke Into Apple’s Mobile Ad Activity
Last but not least, as reported by our sister company ClickZ regulators are ready to look into launching “an investigation into Apple’s activity in the mobile advertising space”, citing a lawyer involved with the Federal Trade Commission’s recent investigation into Google’s acquisition of AdMob.

Same as for Adobe. Apple is thought to de facto have excluded third-party app developers, forcing advertisers to “use Apple’s proprietary iAd product to reach consumers through apps on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad”.

What’s next?

Smokescreen: The Anti-Scrutiny App ?
It may sound like a joke but this startup called Smokescreen may well have what we did call an “anti-scrutiny app” in our headline Steve Jobs May Need Anti-Scrutiny App As Spat vs Adobe Backlashes . Their app enables the running of flash on iPads and iPhones. Not sure it’s going to give redemption to Apple but it’s well worth taking a look at!

Watch the demo here:

So in the face of such scrutiny, let us know how you think Apple will face the music… and dance?

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