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US: Penalties down, but criticism up for Apple in eBooks case

 |  August 23, 2013

While the US Department of Justice agreed to reduce Apple Inc.’s penalties following a court’s decision the tech giant conspired to fix eBooks prices, Apple reportedly continued to seek lighter penalties and denied any wrongdoing in the case.

Reports say a filing, made last Friday, showed the DOJ has agreed to reducing proposed sanctions against Apple – which include establishing a watchdog for the company, restrictions on its relationship with publishers, and allowing competitors to link to their eBook stores from their phone apps – from 10 years to just five. Apple and the DOJ were required by a judge to meet and discuss a possible compromise, where the reduced penalties apparently were formed.

Despite the meeting and the reduced punishment, the DOJ claims Apple continued to deny any wrongdoing in the case. In the filing, the DOJ claims Apple “wants to do business as usual, regardless of the antitrust laws.” Further, the watchdog described Apple as untrustworthy in preventing such business practices in the future. Apple has not responded to the filing. Apple continues to disapprove of the idea that the tech giant needs its own watchdog.

The DOJ initiated the price-fixing case against Apple and several eBooks publishers last year; all publishers settled.

Full Content: Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg

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