Apple and resellers accused of iPhone price-fixing in Russia

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The iPhone 6s is Apple's best smartphone yet. But is it worth the upgrade?
Russia is investigating Apple.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple doesn’t sell iPhones directly in Russia, but it’s being investigated by the country’s federal Anti-Monopoly Service for colluding with resellers to fix the price on its devices.

The government agency revealed today that it has opened a case against Apple and 16 major resellers that all had identical prices for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models when they launched in Russia in October 2015.

E-book customers receive payouts for Apple price fixing

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Affected customers will get their share of Apple's $450 million payout.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Bringing an end to Apple’s long-running iBooks price fixing scandal, affected customers will today receive their settlement payment for books bought between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.

Settlements work out at $1.57 for the majority of e-books, increasing to $6.93 for New York Times bestsellers. Publishers involved in the suit include the Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster — all of whom were found guilty of colluding with Apple to fix e-book prices.

Authors ask Supreme Court to overturn e-book ruling against Apple

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Did antitrust investigators target the wrong company?
Photo: Apple

A group of authors and booksellers are standing by Apple in its decision to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling stating that Apple conspired to fix eBook prices when it launched its iBook store way back in January 2010.

The Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and Barnes & Noble have all banded together to file an “amicus brief” in the United States, arguing that the belief that Apple was taking place in “anti-competitive activities” was “misplaced.”

Eddy Cue reveals why Apple is fighting Justice Department on ebooks

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Apple's Mr. Fixit, Eddie Cue. Photo: Apple
Apple's Mr. Fixit, Eddy Cue. Photo: Apple

Apple’s negotiator-in-chief, Eddy Cue is out to clear the air surrounding the price-fixing conspiracy Apple was found guilty of by U.S. federal court in 2013, before the case hits an appeals court later this month.

In a rare interview, Cue sat down with Fortune to talk about the ebook controversythat has embroiled Apple and the six top book publishers ever since the iPad launched with the iBookstore in 2011.

Apple was found guilty of conspiring to raise ebook prices in 2011, after the launch of the iBookstore saw price of ebook new releases spike 17% overnight. Apple has maintained its innocence through the entire ordeal, and though the company has been criticized for its litigious nature, Cue says the company has to “fight for the truth,” no matter what.

Apple’s $450 million e-book settlement scores preliminary approval

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U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has granted Preliminary approval to Apple’s proposed $450 million settlement for claims that it colluded with the five major U.S. publishers to increase e-book prices.

The settlement fee is still pending the appeal of Judge Cote’s 2013 ruling, but if it stands, Apple will pay $400 million to consumers and $50 million to lawyers. However, Judge Cote says she was deeply troubled by a provision that could see Apple pay as little as $70 million.

Apple prepared to pay $450 million for e-book price fixing case

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Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC
Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

One year after being found guilty of e-book price fixing, Apple has reached a conditional settlement with the U.S. State to pay $450 million for its role in the price fixing conspiracy that involved five major publishers.

Apple’s settlement could bring $400 million back to consumers’ wallets, reports Reuters, but the court documents filed on Wednesday reveal that the company isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet, with hopes that its appeal will shrink that fee down to just $70 million.

Escape Amazon’s evil Kindle empire with the cheeky Kobo Aura

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Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Kobo's ebook reader trumps even the best Kindle on several fronts. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I just switched from Kindle to Kobo. Why? Amazon. It’s currently extorting publishing house Hachette by delaying orders and refusing to allow pre-orders for certain titles. The exact machinations are secret, but many people agree that Amazon is demanding discounts on ebooks.

I don’t want to see authors forced to get a second job to survive, so I switched. No more Kindle ebooks. I switched to Kobo, which has a great e-ink reader, a deep book catalog, and – most importantly – breakable DRM.

The results are mixed, with ups and downs for both the service and the hardware.

And The Winner Is… Best eBook Reading App

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Next time you are traveling somewhere or commuting your way to work, look around you. It’s evident that the number of book lovers who have taken to reading on a digital format has risen significantly over the years. In 2011 and 2012, Amazon said it sold 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books, excluding free eBooks.

Though it has become apparent in recent years that there is a slight fall in the growth of eBook sales (particularly so in 2013), eBooks are still far too compelling to die out, and today we tend to use more than one medium to consume the same thing. So next time you’re hesitating to pull out your Kindle or iPad mini on the bus or train due to the watchful eyes of a “book snob,” just remember that it’s not possible to please everyone, and that there are still thousands of benefits to the electronic book format.

Apple Loses Latest Bid To Ditch Antitrust Monitor

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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.

Marvin, The Do-Everything E-Reader App, Gets Universal iOS 7 Update

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Marvin is an ebook reading app for the iPad that gathers together all your EPUB ebooks in one place. The idea is that you can keep your book files in your Dropbox and access them from anywhere.

It’s EPUB-only, which means it won’t work with your Kindle titles, but that’s no problem, because Marvin also has tight integration with the Calibre e-book app for desktop computers, and as all avid Cult of Mac readers know, it’s pretty easy to use Calibre to rip the DRM from your Kindle books and save them to your Dropbox as EPUBs.