U.S. antitrust enforcers have begun looking at the terms Apple has set this week for media companies who want to sell their content on its iPad and other devices, says the “Wall Street Journal” (http://macte.ch/cKco3), quoting “people familiar with the matter.”
The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission’s interest in Apple’s new subscription service is at a preliminary stage, and might not develop into either a formal investigation or any action against the company, the article adds. However, it comes as Apple has attracted growing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, told the “WSJ” that the commission was aware of the new subscription service and was “carefully monitoring the situation.” The Justice Department and the FTC are both interested in examining whether Apple is running afoul of U.S. antitrust laws by funneling media companies’ customers into the payment system for its iTunes store, the article adds.
On Feb. 15, Apple announced a new subscription service available to all publishers of content-based apps on the Apple App Store. Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and in-app purchases.
Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly). Then with one-click, customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment (weekly, monthly, etc.). Customers can review and manage all of their subscriptions from their personal account page, including canceling the automatic renewal of a subscription. Apple processes all payments, keeping the same 30% share that it does today for other in-app purchases.