US antitrust case hits Apple anew on ebook restrictions

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Sep 07, 2013 12:30 AM EDT

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has imposed several new restrictions on Apple Friday, putting a stress on the iPad maker's agreements with e-book publishers. Cote would also be appointing an external monitor for Apple to oversee for two years that its procedures, training and compliance policies would not violate antitrust laws. 

The new restrictions and the appointment of an external monitor were reportedly in line with Cote's July 10 ruling. Apple was found liable for conspiring to increase e-book prices with five publishers. The e-book prices were found to be more than the prices set by Inc. Amazon is currently dominating in the e-book retail market. The five publishers who were involved with Apple's pricing conspiracy were Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc, Penguin Random House LLC, News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan, and CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc. The five had settled with regulators.

Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said in a statement about Cote's ruling, "Consumers will continue to benefit from lower e-book prices as a result of the department's enforcement action to restore competition in this important industry."

On the other hand, Cote's ruling was viewed as harsh than what Cote had said last week. She said she wanted the ruling "to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business." Apple vowed to appeal Cote's ruling. 

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