Report: Apple faces federal inquiries for allegedly abusing its power

Company faces investigations for abusing its position in online music and for limits set on the development of iPhone apps

Signaling its rise to IT-heavyweight status, Apple now reportedly joins the ranks of companies such as Microsoft and Intel to face federal investigations for abusing market dominance, reports the New York Times.

Specifically, Apple is the target of a Justice Department antitrust inquiry for abusing its dominance in the online music market -- as well as the target of a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into Apple's rules for developers of iPhone apps, according to report.

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The Justice Department is investigating the allegation that Apple is improperly coercing music labels not to participate in Amazon.com's "MP3 Daily Deal" program, through which the online merchant would have exclusive access to new music releases, according to The New York Times. Apple is said to have punished the labels that participated in the program by refusing to market their songs on iTunes.

Meanwhile, the FTC's investigation of Apple's rules for developers of iPhone apps stems from a complaint put forth by Adobe, according to The Times. The company has been involved in a public brouhaha with Apple over the latter's refusal to support Flash on the iPhone.

Notably, this would not be the first time Apple has undergone federal scrutiny: Thee Federal Communications Commission last August investigated Apple's decision to drop Google Voice app from its iPhone App Store. Apple and AT&T later reversed course and allowed the app to grace the iPhone.

Also, the FTC last year investigated the relationship between Apple's and Google's respective boards of directors to see if any overlaps constituted an antitrust violation. The investigation resulted in Google CEO Eric Schmidt's resignation from Apple's board.

This article, "Report: Apple faces federal inquiries for allegedly abusing its power," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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