Report: DOJ inquiry of Apple goes beyond music

News that the Justice Department has been asking about Apple's business practices in the music sector hit last week. It appears other media sectors may be included too.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

The federal government's inquiry into Apple's business practices isn't restricted to digital music, according to a published report.

By blocking Adobe Flash from iPhone and iPad, did Apple prompt a DOJ inquiry into business practices in the film and music sectors? Greg Sandoval/CNET

Investigators with the Department of Justice have begun asking questions of executives in the film industry and other media sectors, according to a story that appeared Friday in The New York Post.

"The [Justice Dept.] is doing outreach," an anonymous Hollywood source told the Post. "You can't dictate terms to the industry. The Adobe thing is just inviting the wrath of everybody."

CNET could not reach its film industry sources this weekend and could not confirm the report.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department had launched an informal inquiry into the tactics Apple employs with the music industry. Sources told CNET that investigators were especially interested in learning whether Apple pressured Sony Music Entertainment and EMI to stop participating in a special discount promotion offered by Amazon, one of Apple's leading competitors in digital music. The sources also said that investigators informed them they are just on a fact-finding mission at this point. There is nothing to indicate that Apple will be accused of anything.

Representatives from the Justice Department and Apple were not immediately available for comment over the holiday weekend.

According to the Post's Hollywood source, Apple's ban of Adobe's Flash technology on the iPhone and iPad is what prompted the government to poke around.

Flash is a widely used foundation for applications and video-streaming sites on the Web, such as YouTube. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that Flash is outdated and inferior to such alternatives as HTML5. Adobe has argued Apple's decision to block Flash was to limit competition within Apple's App Store. Apple has been widely criticized for banning Flash.

In addition to this inquiry, the government has begun looking into Apple's dealing with those who develop software for the App Store.