Apple’s new music streaming service has been making a lot of headlines for the wrong reasons since it’s launch and it looks like this may be due to continue. Reports from Reuters suggest that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may be about to investigate the legality of Apple continuing to take a 30% cut from all in app purchases on rival streaming services on the iOS platform.
Like Google, Apple takes this cut from any sign ups to rival services that take place in app. However unlike Google, Apple expressly forbids the services from pointing out that people can sign up on their website, providing a link from the app to there or even mentioning that the service is available on other platforms. This means that the majority of subscription fees that a music streaming service on iOS receive have a big bite taken out of them, diminishing their already small profit margins. Now that Apple has it’s own service these restrictions are much more clearly a conflict of interest.
This has apparently lead to the FTC having “meetings with multiple concerned parties” three anonymous sources are claiming that the FTC is exploring antitrust concerns over the restrictions placed on it’s rivals in the music streaming business. The FTC itself however will not comment on the investigation or even if such an investigation exists.
Apple has only recently lost an appeal against the ruling that it was liable in the e-book price fixing scandal. Where it was ruled that they had colluded with 5 of the largest publishers in the US to undermine Amazon’s discount pricing and thus force up book prices for consumers. If another such ruling goes against them it’s not going to look good for the Cupertino company, who will once again be seen as putting it’s own bank balance above the best interests of it’s customers.