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DoJ slaps Apple with antitrust inquiry

The US Department of Justice is, according to anonymous sources, in the early stages of an investigation of Apple's tactics in the digital music market.

The US Department of Justice is, according to anonymous sources, in the early stages of an investigation of Apple's tactics in the digital music market.

But people briefed on the inquiries also said investigators had asked in particular about recent allegations that Apple used its dominant market position to persuade music labels to refuse to give the online retailer Amazon.com exclusive access to music about to be released.

The investigation stems from claims that Apple approached music labels asking them not to participate in an Amazon promotion. Companies that participated were allegedly punished, with marketing support for their songs withdraw.

Apple commands the lion's share of the online music market, accounting for 69% of the market. Amazon's store is in second place, but only has an 8% share. Apple only offer songs via iTunes, while Amazon offers MP3 files for download via the web browser.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting.