Apple ebook ruling could spill over into iTunes

Since being found guilty of conspiring in an e-book price fixing cartel, Apple’s wider content biz is now being scrutinised by the US’ Justice Department.

The Department is concerned that Apple may have engaged in similarly anticompetitive behaviour in selling content through iTunes, such as films, music and TV programs.

Bill Baer, the assistant attorney in charge of the Department’s antitrust division, said a proposed order will stop “Apple’s illegal conduct” and both Apple and its senior executives “will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future”, the WSJ reports.

Funnily enough, it was Apple’s drive to selling content online that was, as the time, seen as a seismic shift while content companies were struggling with file sharing networks like Limewire. But the Department is worried that it may have, or may currently be conspiring with publishers in a similar way to its e-books division.

Apple may also have to cope with a proposed monitor that will keep a stern eye over Apple in the e-book market as well as preventing it from entering e-book contracts for five years, removing the company’s chief ability to keep prices competitive.

Last month, US district Judge Denise Cote said the evidence pointed to Apple leading an e-book price fixing conspiracy.