Apple tries to limit ebook punishment

Apple lawyers are flat out trying to prevent the US Department of Justice getting an injunction over its ebook antics.

The DoJ wants an injunction to stop Apple fixing the price of ebooks and thus keeping the electronic book price high.

Apple moaned that the DoJ injunction is designed to “inflict punishment” and must be rejected by the court,

What the two sides are trying to sort out is how to stop Apple shafting its customers with its anti-trust antics. On 10 July, US District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple had conspired with five major publishers to undermine pricing by rivals including which dominates the market for electronic books.

According to Reuters, the DoJ wants Apple to hire an external monitor, let ebook retailers add hyperlinks to their own websites in their apps without charge, and face limits on how it negotiates for other content including movies, music and TV shows.

Apple says the government has no power to stop a successful company from making the sort of business decisions it likes.  After all, Apple is a popular company and the government has no right to think it has the power to run the country.

For some reason, the DoJ appears to be caving in to Apple in a way we didn’t see with Microsoft. Already it has suggested halving the length of its previously proposed injunction to five years from 10, with leave to seek as many as five one-year extensions if needed.

It was also recommended that Apple hold staggered negotiations with the publishers, starting in two years, hopefully minimising the chance of future collusion. The DoJ removed a demand about the management of Apple’s App Store.

However, that is not good enough for Apple which seems to think that it did nothing wrong and should be allowed to continue.

The DoJ said that Apple wants to continue business as usual, regardless of the antitrust laws.

It told the court that it should have no confidence that Apple  effectively can ensure that its illegal conduct will not be repeated. There must be significant oversight by someone not inside Apple’s culture of insensitivity to basic tenets of antitrust law, the DoJ said.