Unnamed sources claim the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an inquiry into Apple’s control over music sales through its iTunes Store. The inquiry is focusing on whether or not Apple used its market dominance to stop music labels from offering exclusive deals through Amazon.com’s online music store, according to the New York Times.
DOJ investigators have been looking into allegations that Apple pressured record labels into not participating in an Amazon.com promotion that would give the online retailer exclusive access to new songs for 24 hours in exchange for promotion in the company’s “MP3 Daily Deal” program. Apparently Apple dropped its own promotional efforts for any songs included in Amazon.com’s daily deals.
Apple currently controls about 69 percent of the online music sales market in the U.S., compared to Amazon.com’s 8 percent. Apple also holds about 26.7 percent of the overall music sales market.
Since Apple, Amazon.com and the DOJ are keeping quiet, there isn’t any evidence yet backing up reports of the inquiry. The unnamed sources, however, claim investigators have been asking Apple, record label and Internet music company employees questions about Apple’s business tactics.
Should the DOJ find evidence to back up the claims, the organization could launch an official investigation into Apple’s iTunes Store business tactics.