DoJ sniffing round Apple over music, report

The US Justice Department has begun looking into Apple's dominance of the digital music market, according to Reuters, which spoke to three people who have been approached by the men from the regulator.

Reuters' secret sources say the DoJ's line of questioning was of a "preliminary" nature, but the investigations do not focus on Apple's dominant position n the US market per se, rather whether it may be able to abuse its position to squeeze out rivals.

The probe may have been provoked by reports that Apple managed to use its leverage to prevent online retailer Amazon from getting its hands on new tunes.

Apple's iTunes Music Store commands about 70 per cent of the US digital music market, with Amazon lagging at number two with under ten per cent.

Apple's musical prowess may on the one hand be credited with helping the record companies out of a hole, by offering a simple and effective way for consumers to buy music online, but its dominance of the delivery mechanism, along with its command of the music player market through its ubiquitous iPod means it has a lot of power in the business.

On the back of its musical prowess, along with the startling popularity of its iPhone, Apple has just overtaken Microsoft to become the world's most valuable tech company.