Apple proposes new terms in e-books battle

Hours after the Department of Justice and 33 U.S. states proposed a set of remedies for Apple to comply with following its July loss in the e-books price-fixing case, the company came back with its own set of terms and called the government's proposals vague, overreaching, and unwarranted.

In a brief filed Friday, the company called the government's proposed measures a "draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple's business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."

Apple maintained that it did not violate antitrust laws, and that an earlier settlement struck with publishers means the behavior that the court found to be anticompetitive has already ended and can't recur.

But if the court does issue an injunction, Apple said, it recommended that it place "reasonable limitations on Apple's ability to share information," prohibit agreements with publishers from having "most favored nation" pricing pacts that give Apple the best price, and "reasonable antitrust training obligations for Apple, lasting a reasonable term."

Earlier Friday, the Department of Justice proposed a remedy that would require Apple to terminate its existing agreements with five major book publishers, staff a court-appointed monitor to keep an eye on internal antitrust compliance policies, and allow competing companies like Amazon to link to purchasable content within their e-book apps.

A plan from either side still requires court approval. The court will hold a hearing on proposed remedies on August 9.

Last April, the Justice Department sued Apple, along with five of the six largest book publishers in the U.S., accusing all parties of conspiring to set e-book prices and break Amazon's hold on the market with its Kindle e-book reader. Apple became the sole defendant in the case after the publishers made deals with the Justice Department.

A federal judge last month ruled that Apple violated antitrust laws, following a trial in the Southern District of New York. Judge Denise Cote said the Justice Department proved that publishers conspired together to eliminate price competition for e-books, and that Apple played a central role in that conspiracy. Apple has said it plans to appeal the decision.

Source: CNET