US antitrust officials are to take a fresh look into Apple following the iPhone maker’s launch of a subscription service.
A Wall Street Journal report said that the US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission were at a ‘preliminary stage’ in investigating the terms of Apple’s new subscription service.
The publisher terms for Apple’s new subscription service have drawn widespread condemnation with the company demanding that publishers offer in-app sales of subscription content and that the price matches the best offered elsewhere.
US authorities are reportedly looking into whether the terms constitutes anti competitive behavior as the firm signs up publishers to sell content through the iTunes system in exchange for a 30 per cent take of the profits.
In order to offer content through published applications in the App Store, publishers much agree to terms which forbid them from even linking external sites where content could be made for sale outside of Apple’s App Store.
Apple has previously come under sustained investigation by antitrust authorities in the US and the EU on the basis of the firm’s insistence that developers use Apple’s development tools.
The company backed down and relaxed a number of key App Store publishing rules which subsequently resulted in investigations both sides of the Atlantic being dropped.
On Wednesday arch rival Google launched a universal content payment system called Google One Pass which aims to compete with the Apple service by offering more favorable terms and a lower 10% cut of revenue.
The US authorities have not yet made an official announcement while the EC said that it was "monitoring the situation."