US regulators probe Apple's subscription service


US antitrust regulators have started examining Apple's new subscription system for content-based apps, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The investigations pushed by both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are still in a preliminary stage, and might not result in any action against Apple, the report explained.

Two aspects of the new subscription system are being questioned.

Investigators may look at whether Apple is pushing customers to make payments through the iTunes Store rather than going through publishers directly. The 30 per cent margin Apple receives on those transactions is also under the spotlight.

Some have also questioned Apple's decision to not allow content firms to link to their site from an iPad or iPhone app.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission noted that Apple's subscription service was being carefully monitored by the EU's executive arm too.

Apple's subscription system has received criticism from both media publishers and online streaming music companies such as Rhapsody and the French Deezer.

Axel Dauchez, president of Deezer, who opposes Apple's will to keep 30 per cent of the payments made for the subscriptions, said such a rate is "so obviously anti-competitive that it will never survive in Europe."

The day after Apple announced the launch of its highly controversial subscription service, Google presented its response, named One Pass, which has been described as a more "open" system for accessing content.

Google will keep 10 per cent of the payments made through its system, and will, unlike Apple, allow customers to access content not just from Google's app store, but also from the web too.