Apple ‘forcefully’ opposes Sony-BMG merger plan

“Apple, the US computer company behind the iTunes music service, has become the latest group to oppose the proposed deal between Sony Music and BMG, the recorded music arm of Germany’s Bertelsmann media group. The development comes as the European Commission begins an intensive second-stage investigation of the merger, a probe it is due to close by June 22,” Tim Burt and Daniel Dombey report for The Financial Times.

“In an announcement on Thursday, the Commission said it had ‘decided to investigate whether the deal might create or strengthen a collective dominant position between the remaining four major record companies,'” Burt and Dombey report.

“Apple, which has sold more than 30m songs through its US internet service, is understood to have expressed concerns about possible ‘vertical integration’ between the merged entity and its respective media parents. The group declined to comment,” Burt and Dombey report. “People familiar with the situation, however, said Apple had ‘forcefully’ raised objections over the enlarged music group’s selling power for music downloads and potential favourable terms with Sony Connect, the Japanese group’s forthcoming rival to Apple’s iTunes.”

Full article here.


  1. The point is not that they’re merging, it’s the fact that the merger coule potentially leave Apple (and all the other download services) beggin at the door. I don’t how much of all music comes from both Sony, and BMG (collectively), but I’d expect to be at least 30% of ALL music (maybe even more)! Could you imagine if Apple lost 30% of their music library!! That would be a drop of 500,000 down to 350,000.

  2. “they wouldn’t lose any music. If sony/bmg dropped out of the catalogs for online music stores they’d lose a lot of money AND they’d be targeted for antitrust suits.”

    How do you figure that?

    Suppose they did–or more precisely, all music is available from Sony Connect. How do you figure that is anti-trustworthy. In the US, the breaking line is around 85%, if I remember correctly. If we assume that 30% number that Ed mentioned–which is as good as any number I can think of–that’s nowhere near the amount necessary to bring in up antitrust.

    But let’s say there is a concern, just for fun. So, fine, Sony continues to license music to Apple/Napster/MusicMatch/Microsoft/Wal-Mart. However, Sony doesn’t necessarily have to be timely. So that hot new single is only available from Sony Connect. About 1 month later–once it’s fallen out of the top 40–it’s available everywhere else. Perfectly reasonable–the music is made available. It’s just available first on Sony’s service. Just like now–some stuff is available first on iTunes or Napster.

  3. I think it’s more about PR and public perception — companies have to be careful about how they enter this market. If I feel Sony is becoming a music download monopoly or unfairly threatening the little guys, then screw it — I’ll just get their songs for free off the internet. Maybe there are enough lemming consumers out there that they won’t fear a backlash — we’ll see.

  4. meat of moose, the Fair Trade Commission decides about monopoly abuse. Having a monopoly, per se, is not a violation of a law. How a company uses their “monopoly power” can bring sanctions. Generally, complaints are to be filed concerning specific abuses, and when those complaints are satisfied, business continues as usual. Especially egregious situations, like Standard Oil and Georgia Pacific, lead to enforced dissolution of assets.

    These issues can be very political, and although the music biz’s power to dictate is currently low on most radar screens, that can change with any election. However, since this particular fight is multinational, it is a good bet that nothing will be done, and that if something IS done, it will be at cross purposes to its intended result.

  5. Macs and their users are generaly segregationists when it comes to computers. They indulge in an attitude of superiority and are generally motivted by negitive views rather that positive insights. Take for instance the price and availability of Mac products and the attitude of the Mac world. Why would I want to pay more for a product with less compatibilty and a general attitude that states Mac’s and their users are in a world of their own. I want to be integrated with the rest of the world, not seperated in a cultist group(Macs).Think how Apple would take off if they released their computer parts to the public, so that we are able to build our own Macs. I don’t trust anyone to build my computer or even open the case for me. That is why I am and always will be a PC USER. Unless Apple changes their ideals along with the entire Mac community.

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