Business

Amazon could get its iOS bookstore back, thanks to proposed Apple price-fixing punishment

Image Credit: afagen

Now that Apple has been found guilty of e-book price-fixing, the Department of Justice wants to make sure it never happens again.

A U.S. District Judge ruled last month that Apple colluded with book publishers to fix prices on e-books, largely in an effort to combat Amazon. The backroom deals resulted in prices for e-books increasing to as much as $14.99 when Amazon was selling them for $9.99.

As a result of the ruling, the Department of Justice and 33 state attorneys-general have proposed a variety of measures to prevent Apple “from conspiring to thwart competition in the future.”

As a part of the measures, Apple would be forced to sever its existing e-book deals with the five big book publishers. And the company wouldn’t be able to sign any new distribution deals for five years, which the DOJ says would “restrain Apple from competing on price. “

On a more interesting note, the DOJ also wants Apple to let rival booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble link to their online bookstores within their e-book apps, allowing consumers to more accurately compare e-book prices. That’s a major reversal of Apple’s current policy, which the company introduced back in 2011.

More damning perhaps is that, under the new measures, Apple wouldn’t even be able to take its customary 30 percent if those links resulted in sales.

“The proposed relief is intended to halt Apple’s anticompetitive conduct, restore lost competition, and prevent a recurrence of the illegal activities,” the DOJ said in a press release today.


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