The Justice Department investigation that started out as only looking into Apple’s digital music practices has now expanded into other areas of the company’s businesses, such as film. What we do know is that an anonymous source in the New York Post is talking up a storm about how the DOJ is now talking to movie executives in Hollywood, much as they have been doing in the music industry already. As is the case with music, this movie investigation is also in the “fact finding” stages. There are no formal charges pending at this time.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department had launched an informal inquiry into the tactics Apple employs with the music industry. Sources told CNET that investigators were especially interested in learning whether Apple pressured Sony Music Entertainment and EMI to stop participating in a special discount promotion offered by Amazon, one of Apple’s leading competitors in digital music. The sources also said that investigators informed them they are just on a fact-finding mission at this point. There is nothing to indicate that Apple will be accused of anything.
Representatives from the Justice Department and Apple were not immediately available for comment over the holiday weekend.
According to the Post’s Hollywood source, Apple’s ban of Adobe’s Flash technology on the iPhone and iPad is what prompted the government to poke around.
Flash is a widely used foundation for applications and video-streaming sites on the Web, such as YouTube. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that Flash is outdated and inferior to such alternatives as HTML5. Adobe has argued Apple’s decision to block Flash was to limit competition within Apple’s App Store. Apple has been widely criticized for banning Flash.
In addition to this inquiry, the government has begun looking into Apple’s dealing with those who develop software for the App Store.