Judge hands down punishment in Apple ebook case

Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone

The judge in Apple’s long-running ebook price-fixing trial has handed down the punishment Apple will receive after losing the case back in August. On the face of things, it doesn’t seem all that hectic but Apple isn’t all that happy about it.

Under the terms of the order, Apple is banned from including most favoured nation clauses in its contracts with publishers over the next five years.

The Cupertino-based giant will also have to stagger negotiations with the publishers that settled in the case. The courts also have the option to extend the punishment “one or more one-year periods”, either of its own volition or at the behest of the US Department of Justice.

While the punishment may seem mild and is nowhere near as stringent as the DoJ was hoping for Apple still isn’t happy.

“Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing,” company spokesman Tom Neumayr said in a statement. “The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market. Apple will pursue an appeal of the injunction.”

The DoJ meanwhile seemed fairly happy with the ruling. “The court’s ruling reinforces the victory the department has won for consumers,” DOJ antitrust assistant attorney Bill Baer said.

Apple will also be monitored by a court-appointed External Compliance Monitor to make sure that it doesn’t conspire to fix again. Should it choose to do so, it’ll be able to suggest candidates for the position:

US v. Apple Injunction



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