Apple Music is ‘not a slam dunk antitrust case,’ says law professor

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Harsh terms, but probably not illegal.
Harsh terms, but probably not illegal.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music’s edge over streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and Pandora means that Apple gets to take a 30 percent cut of rivals’ App Store subscriptions — thereby forcing them to jack up their prices or lose money.

It’s the subject of a current FTC antitrust investigation, but according to Rutgers University law professor Michael Carrier, while it may be harsh, it’s probably not illegal.

U.S. senator backs FTC investigation into Apple Music

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Franken wants Apple investigated.
Photo: Al Franken

It was inevitable that the success of Apple Music was going to have some people screaming about anti-competitive practices, and that’s exactly what happened. Yesterday, senator (and former SNL alumni) Al Franken threw his hat into the ring by writing a letter requesting that the Justice Department take the matter seriously.

If you live in one of these states, Apple may owe you some money

iBooks
If you've used Apple's iBooks store, you might have a check due to you.
Photo: Apple

This week, Apple lost its appeal on the antitrust case that the federal government and several state attorneys general filed on it concerning price fixing on ebooks. And now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for the company to pay up.

The green states in the map below were listed as plaintiffs on the class-action lawsuit, which means that if you live in one of them and have bought anything from iBooks, you may be entitled to a cut of the settlement.

Apple’s e-book antitrust monitor is charging for reading the paper

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We wonder if blog posts cost money to read, too. Photo: GalleryHip
We wonder if blog posts cost money to read, too. Photo: GalleryHip

Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed antitrust monitor who infamously handed Apple an “unprecedented” legal bill of $138,432 for his first two weeks’ work, is back — and his latest eyebrow-raising offence is charging Apple to “review relevant media articles.”

What does that mean, you might ask? In layman’s terms it refers to the fact that he’s billing Apple for reading the newspaper.

Apple’s music streaming plans are already under antitrust scrutiny

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The European Commission is already looking at Apple's streaming music plans. But why? Photo: Flickr/Tim Johnson CC
The European Commission is already looking at Apple's streaming music plans. But why? Photo: Flickr/Tim Johnson CC

Apple’s not even announced its rebranded Beats Music streaming rival to Spotify yet, and already it’s under investigation from regulators.

According to a new report, multiple record labels and digital music companies have been contacted for questioning by the European Commission for what could be a redo of the Apple’s antitrust ebooks controversy, in which the company was forced to shell out $450 million in damages.

The mystery part: since such investigations are usually triggered only by a formal complaint to the commission, there’s plenty of finger-pointing going on regarding who’s responsible for throwing accusations Cupertino’s way. In true Clue fashion, was it an existing streaming music provider, in the dining room, with the endangered business model?

All will (presumably) be revealed.