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Chapter finally closing in Apple’s ebook antitrust case as U.S. Justice Dept says court monitoring can end


The U.S. Justice Department has said that is now satisfied with Apple’s measures to guard against any repetition of the type of anti-competitive behaviour ruled illegal in the long-running ebooks trialBloomberg reports that the department has recommended that the court-appointed monitor is no longer necessary.

In a letter to the Manhattan federal judge who found in 2013 that Apple illegally conspired with publishers to set e-book prices, the U.S. said Apple has “now implemented meaningful antitrust policies, procedures, and training programs that were obviously lacking at the time Apple participated in and facilitated the horizontal price-fixing conspiracy found by this court.”

The letter did, however, note that Apple “never embraced a cooperative working relationship with the monitor” … 

Apple denied this, but did agree that the relationship had been “rocky.” Apple had previously complained that it was being overcharged by the lawyer appointed by the court to monitor its compliance with the ebook ruling, after it received a bill for $138,432 for a fortnight’s work by Michael Bromwich.

Apple later called for Bromwich to be removed from the role, stating that he was attempting to extend his remit beyond that specified by the court, and demanding interviews with senior Apple execs who’d had no involvement in any of the ebook negotiations. Apple’s motion was denied.

While this chapter of the ebook saga appears to be at end end, it may not be the end of the story: Apple is appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Apple’s argument is that it needed to act aggressively in pricing negotiations to break Amazon’s near-monopoly in the ebook market at the time. Some judges from Apple’s previous appeal have expressed sympathy with this view.

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  1. airmanchairman - 7 years ago

    Good riddance, one can almost hear the Apple executive collectively say.

    Must have felt like Sinbad in the 1001 Nights, when the Old Man of the Sea refused to get down off his shoulders (after Sinbad carried him across a river) and threatened to stay put until Sinbad died.

  2. lookerjdc - 7 years ago

    Bromwich should be sued….. what a bottom feeder…. but at least now this is over


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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