Free at last! Apple finally ditches controversial antitrust monitor

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Apple can't ditch its ebook compliance monitor.
Apple has finally parted ways with Michael Bromwich.
Photo: Apple

Apple has finally ditched its controversial antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich after two years of what Apple acknowledges has been a “rocky relationship.”

Bromwich was first installed in Cupertino back in October 2013, after Apple was found to have illegally colluded with five book publishers to raise e-book prices in a way that was deemed to have hurt Apple’s competition.

Extra! Extra! Apple wants to keep fighting its eBook price-fixing lawsuit

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This is like a really, really long John Grisham novel.

In a story that would, ironically, make a pretty good eBook holiday thriller, Apple has dredged up its seemingly-ended eBook pricing conspiracy lawsuit — asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling stating that Apple conspired to fix eBook prices when it launched its original iPad and iBook store in January 2010.

Yep, it’s the return of the lawsuit that will never end!

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

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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.

Read all about it: Apple settles eBook pricing suit

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Apple has settled out of court in the latest eBooks price fixing suit brought against the company. It was set to go before a jury next month, with potential damages being as much as $840 million.

The terms of the settlement haven’t yet been revealed, and the opposing side now has one month to request formal acceptable of their agreement by the court.

Publishers To Pay iBookstore Customers $3 For Each NYT Best Seller Purchased

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Apple can't ditch its ebook compliance monitor.
Apple can't ditch its ebook compliance monitor.
Photo: Apple

While Apple decided to hold out for a court battle — that it eventually lost — five of the publishers involved in the iBookStore price fixing antitrust case have already reached settlements with the DOJ. Two of those publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, are already sending out emails to customers to notify them that they’re eligible to receive iTunes credit, or a check for the settlement.

Penguin Reaches Deal With EU To Drop Apple E-Book Pricing

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The European Commission announced today that it has reached a deal with publisher Penguin regarding the e-book price fixing charges raised by the EU back in 2012.

Like the four other publishers charged with colluding with Apple to fix the price of e-books, Penguin has agreed to ditch Apple’s agency model for e-books that let publishers set prices for e-books while distributors like Apple, Amazon or Barnes & Noble get a cut of the sale.

Apple May Face $500 Million Bill From E-Book Price Fixing Case

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Apple was found guilty of e-book price fixing by federal judge Denise Cote earlier this month, and it looks like the total bill for colluding with book publishers for the launch of the iBookstore will be pretty steep.

The five publishers in the case – Hachette, Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster – have already paid out $166 million,  according to figures obtained by GigaOm. Based on the settlement payments publishers have already shelled out, it looks like Apple might have to pay $500 million to the states and class action lawyers in the case.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Has Been Ordered To Testify In E-Book Antitrust Case

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Going nowhere.
Going nowhere.

Last year, Apple was hit with an antitrust case from the U.S. Department of Justice over the pricing scheme of e-books in Apple’s iBookstore. Since that time, 11 executives at Apple have already been deposed over the issue, but the Department of Justice is demanding Tim Cook be involved, and they just got their way.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote granted the Justice Department’s request to get Cook to testify on the ebook antitrust case for four hours.

Steve Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson Dropped From eBook Price Fixing Case

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Walter Isaacson isn't in Jony Ive's good books.
Walter Isaacson isn't in Jony Ive's good books.

Walter Isaacson, the author of the best-selling biography about Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, will not have to share his notes or testify in an ongoing lawsuit over alleged eBook price fixing between Apple and book publishers.

Lawyers wanted to see Isaacson’s notes from interviews with Jobs in an effort to establish Apple’s agreements with publishers, but Isaacson refused to hand them over, citing a New York law that allows journalists to shield their sources.