FTC and DoJ toss-up on Apple subs plan 'probe'

Who wants to load the torpedoes?


Apple's take-it-or-leave-it subscription platform for content producers and publishers has attracted the attention of regulators in the US and Europe, according to reports.

Cupertino launched the fair and balanced plan this week, giving producers of magazines, video, etc, the ability to sell subscriptions through Apple's App store in return for a 30 per cent rake-off. While producers may sell subscriptions via other channels, they are banned from offering better deals to customers using these. This arguably leaves other channels, including publisher's own sales operations, somewhat hamstrung.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission are also pondering just how much of a bind this is on publishers, quoting those mysterious people familiar with the matter.

Their counterparts in Europe are also "carefully monitoring the situation", according to an EU spokesperson quoted by the paper.

The US authorities are apparently determining which of them should take the lead in sniffing at Apple's subs scheme. The DoJ has apparently already examined Apple's music business, while the FTC has perused the App store, inspiring some changes in the T&Cs for both.

This perhaps suggests a more realistic approach on Apple's part. Microsoft's absolute opposition to government probing of its business practices left its staff and processes hobbled by red tape, and apparently made the company a much less interesting place to work.

Once the authorities do decide who should take the lead, they will then have to decide exactly what, if anything, Apple is doing that is anti-competitive. Some might argue 30 per cent figure is a perfectly reasonable take, and it may be a question of examining whether Apple is abusing its position in the market.

Certainly Rhapsody argues that 30 per cent leaves little if any room for it to make money, once it has paid off music labels and publishers. Oh, and those other people buried in the process – the artists. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Software Freedom Conservancy sues TV maker Vizio for GPL infringement

    Companies using GPL software should meet their obligations, lawsuit says

    The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit which supports and defends free software, has taken legal action against Californian TV manufacturer Vizio Inc, claiming "repeated failures to fulfill even the basic requirements of the General Public License (GPL)."

    Member projects of the SFC include the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project, BusyBox, Git, GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, Homebrew, Mercurial, OpenWrt, phpMyAdmin, QEMU, Samba, Selenium, Wine, and many more.

    The GPL Compliance Project is described as "comprised of copyright holders in the kernel, Linux, who have contributed to Linux under its license, the GPLv2. These copyright holders have formally asked Conservancy to engage in compliance efforts for their copyrights in the Linux kernel."

    Continue reading
  • DRAM, it stacks up: SK hynix rolls out 819GB/s HBM3 tech

    Kit using the chips to appear next year at the earliest

    Korean DRAM fabber SK hynix has developed an HBM3 DRAM chip operating at 819GB/sec.

    HBM3 (High Bandwidth Memory 3) is a third generation of the HBM architecture which stacks DRAM chips one above another, connects them by vertical current-carrying holes called Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) to a base interposer board, via connecting micro-bumps, upon which is fastened a processor that accesses the data in the DRAM chip faster than it would through the traditional CPU socket interface.

    Seon-yong Cha, SK hynix's senior vice president for DRAM development, said: "Since its launch of the world's first HBM DRAM, SK hynix has succeeded in developing the industry's first HBM3 after leading the HBM2E market. We will continue our efforts to solidify our leadership in the premium memory market."

    Continue reading
  • UK's ARIA innovation body 'hasn't even begun to happen' says former research lead

    DARPA imitator not doing much after two years of Johnson government

    Updated The UK's efforts to copy US government and military innovation outfit DARPA are stalling, according to a leading figure in research and development.

    Appearing before the Science and Technology Committee, Sir John Kingman, former chair of UK Research and Innovation, told MPs this morning that ARIA – the Advanced Research and Invention Agency – was a good example of departmental research spending that could be cut, sidelined or delayed.

    "A very high-profile example would be ARIA, which has been this big plan for the Boris Johnson government, and yet here we are a few years into the Johnson government and it still hasn't even begun to happen," he told MPs.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021