John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Says DOJ’s E-Book Remedies Are Biased in Amazon’s Favor

inconceivableApple has long maintained that the proposed remedies in the U.S. Department of Justice’s e-book price-fixing case against it are heavy-handed, lambasting them as “wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm.” And the DOJ’s recent revision of those remedies hasn’t much changed that position.

In a court filing released Monday, Apple berated the DOJ once again, calling its revised proposed remedies a “broadside masquerading as a brief” and a “transparent attempt to attack the credibility of Apple and its counsel, and obtain an injunction wildly out of proportion to the issues and evidence in the case.” And it asked the presiding court to order the DOJ to withdraw it and submit a new one that hews to issues it claims were actually adjudicated in court.

According to Apple, the DOJ’s brief is predicated on arguments it ultimately abandoned at trial, and materials that never made it into evidence. And it is the company’s view that it is biased in favor of Amazon.

“Plaintiffs devote much of their brief to seeking to justify an injunction directed at Apple’s unilateral dealings with Amazon (and other e-book retailers) in its App Store, an issue that the plaintiffs did not pursue at trial. Plaintiffs are seeking a remedy that would give Amazon significant competitive advantage over Apple — an advantage it is neither entitled to nor deserves.”

Apple’s issue here is with the DOJ’s demand that it allow rival e-book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to provide links from their e-book apps to their own e-bookstores without paying any fee or commission to Apple on sales made through them. It’s vehemently opposed to that and pretty much any remedy that affects the way it runs the App Store.

Apple is also opposed to the DOJ’s proposal for an external monitor, which it argues “exceeds the bounds of even criminal price-fixing cases.” But then it’s pretty much opposed to all the agency’s remedies, because it maintains that it never did anything illegal.

As the company wrote in a filing earlier this month, “Apple does not believe it violated the antitrust laws, and, in any event, the conduct for which the Court found it liable has ended and cannot recur as a result of the publishers’ consent decrees. In light of these facts, no further injunction is warranted.”

Apple and the DOJ are scheduled to meet Judge Denise Cote in court today to discuss the matter.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik