Apple told to modify e-book contracts

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Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2013 12:00 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Looking to force Apple to obey antitrust laws, a judge on Friday ordered the technology giant to modify contracts with publishers to prevent electronic book price fixing and said she will appoint an external compliance monitor to review the company’s antitrust policies and training.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s 17-page order came nearly two months after she concluded that Apple Inc. used the popularity of its iTunes store to conspire with publishers to raise e-book prices in 2010.

Cote gave the Department of Justice less than it requested but still left it pleased.

“The court’s ruling reinforces the victory the department has won for consumers,” Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said in a statement. “Consumers will continue to benefit from lower e-books prices as a result of the department’s enforcement action to restore competition in this important industry.”

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the Cupertino, Calif., company will appeal the order.

“Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” he said. “The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much needed innovation and competition into the market.”

Cote’s order largely followed what she had said she would do at two August hearings. She said she believed the company and the publishers still wanted to collude to raise book prices.

At trial, Apple insisted that its entry into the e-books market widened the number of customers and was a boost for publishers and authors alike, increasing the number of books available and eliminating a monopoly of the market by Amazon.com.

But the government argued that Apple joined with publishers to illegally undermine an Amazon pricing policy that had enabled consumers to buy the most popular books for $9.99.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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