Just days before Apple became the largest tech company on the planet, at least based on stock valuation, it was widely reported that the U.S. Department of Justice was looking into possible antitrust violations. The main focus of the investigation appears to center on iTunes, and the way Apple handles its contracts with the entertainment industry.
The probe was reportedly triggered by Apple’s response to Amazon’s efforts to gain a one-day exclusive on new music. Apple allegedly threatened to withhold promotion for a participating label’s product.
Such behavior wouldn’t make much of a difference, except that Apple controls roughly 70% of the online music marketplace in the U.S. Even when you factor physical stores into the mix, Apple remains well ahead of the pack, which also includes Walmart. So you can see why the authorities are looking into the situation.
At the same time, Apple’s decision to block Flash from their mobile platform and alter the iPhone SDK to prevent you from using third-party tools to create software has also drawn attention. But I expect it’s iTunes that’s getting the lion’s share of attention.