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CONTENT & DOWNLOADS / INDUSTRY

Let Off For Patent Stealing, Apple Now Pleads For Leniency After Being Found Guilty Of eBook Conspiracy

By David Richards | Monday | 05/08/2013

Apple who was recently found guilty of stealing Samsung patents but got off because US President Obama said it was okay is now pleading with the US Government to go easy on them after they were found guilty of "conspiring" to manipulate the price of eBooks.

Apple, CEO Tim Cook, last night filed a motion objecting to a US Department of Justice proposal that recommends that Apple should provide links to rival bookstores and be banned from anti-competitive deals for five years.

Cook claims that the DOJ proposal is a "draconian and punitive intrusion". It has previously said it did not conspire to fix e-book prices" despite Manhattan U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruling that Apple played a "central role" in a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices.

Apple claims it did not conspire to fix e-book prices and that it planned to appeal Cote's decision.

Regulators accused Apple of conspiring to undercut Amazon.com's e-book dominance, causing some prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 that Amazon.com was charging.

Regulators want Apple to let retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble for the next two years to provide links to make it easier for consumers to compare prices.

They also want Apple to use an outside monitor to ensure that its internal antitrust compliance policies are strong enough to catch illegal conduct before consumers are harmed. The proposed changes require Cote's approval.

"Under the department's proposed order, Apple's illegal conduct will cease, and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition," said Bill Baer, head of the Justice Department's antitrust division.

Apple has pleaded with the DoJ to go easy on them despite their being overwhelming evidence that resulted in the Guilty verdict.


The publishers included Lagardere SCA's LAGA.PA Hachette Book Group, News Corp, HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Pearson Plc's PSON.L Penguin Group (USA) Inc, CBS, CBS.N Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan.

The publishers agreed to pay more than $166 million for the benefit of consumers rather than face a trial.

A hearing to discuss remedies is scheduled for Aug. 9. Cote has said she also plans to hold a trial on damages.

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