The Department of Justice won’t let Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fix the prices of e-books to better suit their own needs. And now they want to find new ways to prevent the Cupertino tech giant from doing such. Right now the measures are still subject to court approval and may not be fully adopted.
Their ideas include allowing other e-tailers (like Amazon and Barnes & Noble) to provide links to their e-stores. This would allow Apple users to compare the prices of e-books from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and their competitors. This would likely prove to be a good thing for the company’s competitors.
Apple would need to end agreements with 5 major publishers
CNET added, “Other the measures proposed by the department to the court, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would need to end its agreements with five major publishers linked to the conspiracy and refrain for five years from entering new e-book distribution contracts which would restrain Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from competing on price. It couldn’t funnel information among the conspiring publishers or retaliate against them for refusing to sell e-books on agency terms.”
Not only that, but the DOJ also requested for an external monitor to watch the company’s internal antitrust policies. The agreement would force Apple to terminate their agreements with major publishers Penguin Group, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan.
Apple would be prevented from signing any new contracts
Apple would also be prevented from signing any new contracts for e-book distribution with publishers for at least five years and this settlement would go beyond books as it would include music, movies, television shows, etc.
Bill Baer (the assistant attorney general for DOJ’s antitrust division) claimed, “”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. Under the department’s proposed order, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future.”
This proposal is currently pending for approval.