updated 08:50 pm EST, Thu February 17, 2011
Move follows criticism from several groups
The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are reportedly looking into Apple's new in-app subscription rules, following public criticism from a number of companies and groups. The US agencies are said to be considering the possibility that Apple may be in violation of antitrust laws by tightening rules for developers that manage in-app purchases outside of Apple's own iTunes payment system.
Although developers are able to sell subscriptions outside of the iTunes service, Apple demands that "the same or better offer" must be made within the app. Customers are seen as more likely to take advantage of the one-click subscription within the app, which also rewards Apple with a 30-percent cut of the revenue.
Many companies have voiced frustration with the new rules, while Rhapsody suggested it may collaborate with 'market peers' to file a lawsuit against Apple. Its service currently exits the app and routes users to Safari to pay for subscriptions, a method which is now banned.
It is unclear if the DoJ or FTC will intervene or even open a formal investigation, as the proceedings are reportedly in the preliminary stage. The European Commission is also said to be "carefully monitoring" the matter for further developments, according to a Wall Street Journal report (sub. required).