Are Apple's New Publishing Policies Courting Antitrust Problems?

Could Apple’s new publishing policies be skirting antitrust laws?

That’s the question raised at Wall Street Journal’s article today.

The new policies, which go into effect in June, would demand a 30 percent cut from subscriptions sold and restrict companies from selling their items from within the app without going through Apple. At the same time, Apple demands that items be priced the same or lower than sold elsewhere.

Experts said that the first step in an antitrust analysis is to determine whether Apple is a dominant player in the market, which, in turn, requires an an assessment of the relevant market at issue.

Publishers, for example, might claim that Apple dominates the market for consumer tablet computers and that it has allegedly used that commanding position to restrict competition. Apple, in turn, might define the market to include all digital and print media, and counter that any publisher not happy with Apple’s terms is free to still reach its customers through many other print and digital outlets.

” Millions will be spent litigating how broad the market is,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, an antitrust professor at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Mr. Hovenkamp said digital media is the most plausible market. He said he doubted that Apple, currently, has a sufficiently dominant position in that market to warrant antitrust scrutiny.

Read the whole post here.

Additionally, check out 9to5Mac’s coverage of the story.

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