Apple in doghouse over online music bullying

So much for Jobs and the open web – reports have come in that investigators are probing Apple after it was alleged that it tried to convince record labels not to give Amazon any exclusive access for pre-release music.

The Department of Justice in the states are speaking to a bunch of digital music retailers and record bigwigs about Apple’s response earlier this year to Amazon’s MP3 Daily Deal, which occasionally would give it exclusive access to major label music. Apple responded by saying that anything Amazon used in the promotion would not get any push at all on the iTunes store, reported Billboard magazine back in March.

Apple is also under investigation for its now-very-not-open-at-all developer rules for the iPhone OS.

The DoJ inquiry is in its preliminary stages right now according to the New York Times. While it’s at an early stage, the NY Times reckons that the DoJ being involved at all means that it is raising an eyebrow at Apple’s market dominance.

An antitrust lawyer at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton told the NY Times that if the Justice Department is getting involved, it “raises the possibility of potential serious problems down the road for Apple.”

“Without knowing what acts or practices they are targeting, it’s difficult to say exactly how big a problem this is – but it’s probably something Apple is already concerned about.”