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

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A federal judge said at a hearing Tuesday afternoon that the Department of Justice can’t regulate Apple’s App Store, 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, 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.

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