Digital Legal

Apple bigger than Microsoft, music operations may be investigated

By | Published on Thursday 27 May 2010

Apple yesterday became a bigger company than Microsoft, which is quite remarkable news for those of us who used Apple computers in the 1990s when everyone reckoned the mavericks in the home computing market were on the skids into oblivion.

The Guardian point out that in 2000 Microsoft’s market capitalisation (number of shares multiplied by share price) was $556 billion while Apple languished behind at $15.6 billion. As of yesterday Apple had a market cap of $221.1 billion while Microsoft, whose value has been slipping for a while, is down to $219.2 billion. And with the iPad likely to dominate the gadgets market this year, Apple’s rise looks set to continue.

Of course, Apple’s rebirth in the last ten years has had a great deal to do with its music-based ventures, which makes it interesting that as the ‘Apple bigger than Microsoft’ headline broke yesterday there were also rumours the US Department Of Justice had begun a preliminary inquiry into the way Apple does business with the music industry, in response to claims of anti-competitive behaviour. Back in the day it was Microsoft who were always battling off allegations they’d breached anti-trust laws.

Although neither the DoJ nor Apple have commented, the New York Times says US competition regulators are investigating claims Apple used its dominance in the digital music market to pressure record companies not to participate in Amazon’s MP3 Daily Deal promotion, which would give the iTunes rival exclusivity over certain new songs for 24 hours.