DOJ, AGs propose remedies for Apple in e-book price fixing

The remedies would require Apple to end its e-book agreements with five major publishers

Apple should end its existing e-book agreements with five major publishers and sign no new price-setting distribution contracts for five years under remedies for e-book price fixing proposed by the U.S. Department of Justice and 33 state attorneys general.

The proposed remedies, released Friday, would allow Apple to continue to sell e-books but prohibit the company from retaliating against publishers for refusing to sell e-books under terms approved by the company. The remedies would also require Apple to allow other e-book sellers, such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, to give more prominent play to their e-book stores on Apple devices, by allowing them to provide links from their e-book apps to their e-book stores

Apple would also be prohibited from entering into agreements with suppliers of e-books, music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple's competitor retailers may sell that content.

The proposed remedies would also require Apple to hire an internal antitrust compliance officer and allow the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to appoint an external compliance monitor.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposed remedies.

Judge Denise Cote found in July that Apple violated antitrust laws by colluding with publishers to set prices of e-books. Apple has vowed to appeal the case.

"The court found that Apple's illegal conduct deprived consumers of the benefits of e-book price competition and forced them to pay substantially higher prices," Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ's Antitrust Division, said in a statement. "Under the department's proposed order, Apple's illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future."

In April 2012, the DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster. The DOJ accused the defendants of substantially increasing the prices that consumers paid for e-books.

When it filed the lawsuit, the DOJ reached settlements Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, and those settlements were approved by the court in September. The DOJ settled with Penguin in December and Macmillan in February, but Apple refused to settle.

Under the settlements, each publisher was required to terminate agreements that prevented e-book retailers from lowering the prices at which they sell e-books to consumers.

A hearing on remedies for Apple is scheduled for Aug. 9.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeInternet-based applications and servicesantitrustHarperCollinse-commerceHachetteDenise CoteinternetAppleMacmillanpenguinSimon & SchusterBill Baerlegalgovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?