All items tagged with "antitrust"

Apple’s e-book antitrust monitor is charging for reading the paper

We wonder if blog posts cost money to read, too. Photo: GalleryHip

We wonder if blog posts cost money to read, too. Photo: GalleryHip

Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed antitrust monitor who infamously handed Apple an “unprecedented” legal bill of $138,432 for his first two weeks’ work, is back — and his latest eyebrow-raising offence is charging Apple to “review relevant media articles.”

What does that mean, you might ask? In layman’s terms it refers to the fact that he’s billing Apple for reading the newspaper.

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Apple’s music streaming plans are already under antitrust scrutiny

The European Commission is already looking at Apple's streaming music plans. But why? Photo: Flickr/Tim Johnson CC

The European Commission is already looking at Apple’s streaming music plans. But why? Photo: Flickr/Tim Johnson CC

Apple’s not even announced its rebranded Beats Music streaming rival to Spotify yet, and already it’s under investigation from regulators.

According to a new report, multiple record labels and digital music companies have been contacted for questioning by the European Commission for what could be a redo of the Apple’s antitrust ebooks controversy, in which the company was forced to shell out $450 million in damages.

The mystery part: since such investigations are usually triggered only by a formal complaint to the commission, there’s plenty of finger-pointing going on regarding who’s responsible for throwing accusations Cupertino’s way. In true Clue fashion, was it an existing streaming music provider, in the dining room, with the endangered business model?

All will (presumably) be revealed.

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Apple wins at last: iTunes DRM was ‘genuine improvement,’ jury finds

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The verdict is in, and after nearly a decade of legal wrangling, Apple has prevailed in the class-action lawsuit seeking over $1 billion in damages by iPod owners who claimed the company conspired to kill competing music services by adding restrictions to iTunes.

The eight-person jury found Apple not liable of adding DRM restrictions as an anti-competitive move toward rival players like RealNetworks from 2006 to 2009. The Verge reports that the jury unanimously delivered the verdict this morning and said that iTunes 7.0 is a “genuine product improvement” that increased security for consumers.

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Judge suggests Amazon, not Apple, is e-book monopolist

Apple's eBook appeal is just getting started. Photo: Apple

Apple’s eBook appeal is just getting started. Photo: Apple

Apple was found guilty last year of colluding with publishers to raise ebook prices, but now that the antitrust case is being heard by the Second U.S. Court of Appeals, two out of the three appellate judges are starting to see things Apple’s way.

The appeals case kicked off this morning with Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart attempting to compare Apple to a driver taking a narcotics dealer to a drug pick up. The analogy was supposed to make the point that if Apple knew publishers were conspiring to fix ebook prices, it was just as guilty as them for facilitating the conspiracy. However, Fortune reports that Judge Denis Jacobs laughed off the analogy, pointing out that drug trafficking is one of the few “industries in which the law does not look with favor or new entrants.”

The comment drew a chorus of laughs in the courtroom, but Judge Jacob’s concerns went even further, as the the judge questioned whether the government should have even brought the case to court.

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Judge in e-book antitrust case is unhappy Apple may pay just $70m

judge

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote says that it is “most troubling” that Apple could potentially be made to pay just $70 million in its antitrust case related to e-book price fixing.

Cote was speaking during a teleconference on Thursday regarding the long-running case claiming that Apple conspired with five publishers to fix e-book prices.

In the original ruling made by Judge Cote in April 2012, Apple was expected to pay $674 million after the plaintiffs reached settlements with the individual publishers.

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How Sony stood up to Steve Jobs’ wage-fixing schemes at Pixar

Catmull_Jobs_Lasseter_Pixar

Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs and John Lasseter at Pixar

Steve Jobs may have been part of some of the biggest tech revolutions of the past forty years, but he was also part of an illegal attempt to suppress employee wages by way of a massive no-poaching agreement with other tech giants.

Another of the companies accused of similar actions by former employees was Pixar, the company Jobs purchased a majority interest in after being booted out of Apple in the mid-80s. In 2011, Pixar’s John Lasseter described Jobs as “forever…part of Pixar’s DNA.”

As it happens, that may not be entirely for the best.

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EU regulators examining Beats deal for potential antitrust issues

beatssteve

Is Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music a potential antitrust case? European Union antitrust regulators announced this morning that it will rule on whether or not to clear Apple’s Beats music bid by July 30.

It is hoped that the deal will help Apple gain the lead in the rapidly-growing and lucrative music streaming business. The European Commission has the power to either clear the Beats deal unconditionally, or else demand concessions if it sees competition issues.

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Truce Almighty: Relationship ‘Significantly Improved’ Between Apple & Antitrust Monitor

gavel-court-hammer-judge-lawsuit

Ever have that situation at school where a teacher who doesn’t seem to like you gives you a bizarrely good end-of-year grade?

That seems to be the case with Apple’s court-appointed monitor Michael Bromwich, who describes the company as being off to a “promising start” with its antitrust compliance program, after being last year found liable for conspiring to raise e-book prices.

Apple’s relationship with Bromwich appeared strained from the very start — with Apple objecting to Bromwich’s “unprecedented” first legal bill ($138,432 for his first two weeks’ work), along with his requests to access top Apple executives.

Both Bromwich and Apple ended up filing legal complaints about the other, although those complaints appear to have now simmered down.

In a new 77-page report filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Bromwich describes his relationship with Apple as “significantly improved” compared to where it was back in February, when Apple lawyers were trying to remove Bromwich from the case.

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Apple Files An Appeal In E-Book Antitrust Case

Screen_Shot_2014-02-26_at_10

Apple has filed an appeal related to last year’s verdict stating that the company violated U.S. antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to fix e-book prices.

The appeal — which was filed Tuesday with the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York — calls U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote’s ruling “a radical departure from modern antitrust law and policy,” and argues that it will “stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers” if it is followed.

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Apple Loses Latest Bid To Ditch Antitrust Monitor

gavel-court-hammer-judge-lawsuit

Apple has lost its latest bid to put court-appointed antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich on hold, with a federal appeals court rejecting Apple’s claim that the monitor’s work was causing irreparable harm.

In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said that Bromwich (the former U.S. attorney and Justice Department inspector general given the job of ensuring antitrust compliance regarding e-book price fixing) may continue to examine Apple’s antitrust compliance policies, while Apple pursues a broader appeal seeking to remove him altogether.

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