Small victory for Apple: Judge tells government not to regulate App Store in ebooks case


A federal judge said at a hearing Tuesday afternoon that the Department of Justice can’t regulate Apple’s App Store (s AAPL), as it had sought to do in its proposed injunction against Apple.

Judge Denise Cote also said that the DOJ can’t make Apple change its in-app purchase rules. The DOJ had wanted to force Apple to allow in-app purchasing in competing ebook apps, like Kindle (s AMZN), without taking a commission.

The hearing came ahead of the final injunction that Judge Cote plans to file next week. Last month, she found Apple guilty of conspiring with publishers to set ebook prices.

“I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business…I want Apple to have the flexibility to innovate,” Judge Cote said at the hearing, according to Publishers Marketplace.

Judge Cote did say she’s inclined to appoint an external monitor to oversee Apple’s conduct, something Apple had resisted.

Publishers Weekly reports that there was “little discussion…of the revised proposal to end the publishers’ current agency deals and to stagger their renegotiations six months apart.” Apple has already agreed to this, however, and it’s likely to make its way into the final injunction.


Michael W. Perry

Quote: Publishers Weekly reports that there was “little discussion…of the revised proposal to end the publishers’ current agency deals and to stagger their renegotiations six months apart.”

Strange, very strange, and most strange. If agency pricing, at least as done by Apple and the Big Six publishers, was such a great evil as the DOJ claims, why stagger the renegotiations six months apart? That means it’ll take over three years to end this supposed problem. Yes, collusion might be an issue, but that could be dealt with in other ways.

And if agency pricing were so lucrative, you’d expect to see the publishers jockeying to be last in the list. Instead, the DOJ seems to regard that last position as a kind of punishment.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t settle the question that bothers me. Are DOJ’s lawyers simply stupid or are they working on behalf of Amazon?

* There is a stupidity associated with calling something a great evil, but then delaying the correction of that alleged evil for perhaps four years. These lawyers do seem to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

* But those delays do accomplish one of Amazon’s purposes, which is to weaken the major publishers and make it harder for them to resist pressures from Amazon. The longer this dispute is drawn out, the better it is for Amazon. That does explain the seeming illogic of the delay. It was never about ebook prices or protecting the public from price-fixing.


Glad to hear Judge Cote’s view. It seems the DoJ caught Apple conspiring to J-walk and now wants to the send them to Siberia. Is there any indication that Apple is a threat to competition and fair pricing? Sure they have a well-tended garden – fenced in but not ‘walled’.

Lee McKenna

Once upon a time (100 yrs ago), we needed gov’t rules/regulations to reign in the monopolies, allow unions to protect workers, etc.

Fast today, and the marketplace is totally different.


If you don’t think you’re getting a good price, find another seller. If there isn’t one, then someone WOULD start such a business IF THEY CAN – Gov’t regs curtail new startups.

For those companies already around, if they can get your business by selling something for less…THEY WILL.

For workers, there are jobs out there…and they will pay what they can afford (businesses still need to make a profit…they are the ones risking their money – if the company loses money, the workers aren’t forfeiting their salaries are they?).

If you arent’ skilled enough, smart enough, for a higher paying job…well, sorry, but that’s life and what YOU MAKE OF YOURSELF IN IT. Learn, learn, learn, then work, work, work…add to your knowledge, skills, and you CAN MAKE MORE MONEY.

Get gov’t and unions out of business and this country can thrive once again.

RFO Jefferson

So stupid, you just don’t know where to begin. Other than…if you’re talking about a hundred years ago, then that probably means you’re far nearer that hundred mark than away from it. I think that’s the only solution. You can’t train dumb.

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