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U.S. regulators eyeing Apple's new App Store subscriptions terms

The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. anti-trust enforcers are in the process of “looking at” Apple’s new App Store terms regarding the newly announced in-app-subscriptions feature for developers. The report notes that this “looking at” is just “preliminary” and it’s possible this will never become a full investigation against Apple and their new policies.

The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission’s interest in Apple’s new subscription service is at a preliminary stage, and might not develop into either a formal investigation or any action against the company. But it comes as Apple has attracted growing antitrust scrutiny in the U.S. and Europe.

U.S. officials are currently looking at whether Apple is in the wrong for forcing app content’s customers into using iTunes as the payment system for subscriptions, and taking a 30% cut of the developer’s, or publication’s in this case, revenue.

The Justice Department and the FTC are both interested in examining whether Apple is running afoul of U.S. antitrust laws by funneling media companies’ customers into the payment system for its iTunes store—and taking a 30% cut, the people familiar with the situation said

The U.S. is not the only one pursuing a preliminary look at the situation, with European officials “carefully monitoring the situation.”

A spokeswoman for the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said Thursday that the commission was aware of the new subscription service and was “carefully monitoring the situation.”

Apple as well as the U.S. officials declined to comment.

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