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US: Does Apple need its own antitrust watchdog?

 |  August 5, 2013

One month after Apple was found to have conspired to fix ebooks prices by a New York federal judge, the US Department of Justice announced possible restrictions on the technology giant, including a somewhat drastic measure of appointing an antitrust monitor to specifically watch over Apple. Reports say the job, which would be paid for by the company, would aim to catch anticompetitive behavior early, before harm to consumers is done, according to a press release by the DOJ.

Additionally, regulators have warned Apple to cut all ties with the ebooks publishers accused of conspiring to fix the prices of digital books. Under the proposal, Apple would promise officials not to enter into new contracts with the publishers for the next five years, and would also agree to allow other ebook retailers to link products into Apple apps for the next two years. DOJ assistant attorney general of the Antitrust Division Bill Baer said that under the proposal, “Apple’s illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future.”

The DOJ filed a lawsuit against the company and five ebooks publishers last year; while the publishers settled, Apple went to court and was ultimately found in violation of antitrust law in the way it sets ebooks prices.

In another update for Apple, President Barack Obama vetoed the International Trade Commission’s recent ruling to ban imports of certain Apple iPhone and iPad products found to have infringed on Samsung patents.

Click here to read the DOJ’s press release regarding the proposed measures.

Full Content: LA TImes, Rappler and Forbes

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