Another story jumps straight off the pages of Atlas Shrugged: "DOJ to require Apple to link to Amazon"

Posted by sdesapio 6 years, 10 months ago to Business
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THIS ARTICLE REPUBLISHED FROM APPLE INSIDER: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/08/0...
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DOJ settlement would require Apple to allow links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble e-book stores
By Neil Hughes

Amazon and Barnes & Noble are not currently allowed to link from their native iOS apps to outside e-book stores. But the U.S. Department of Justice has proposed a settlement that would require Apple to allow such links for a two-year period.

The terms of the proposed settlement in the Apple e-book price fixing case were published on Friday by the Justice Department. Though Amazon and Barnes & Noble were singled out, the policy could apply to other e-book sellers as well.

The DOJ said the change would allow consumers on the iPad and iPhone to "easily compare Apple's prices with those of its competitors." Currently, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases made through App Store software, and does not allow developers to circumvent this rule by linking to a website for purchases.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others were required to update their apps two years ago, when Apple revised its policy to ban links to out-of-app purchases. Users can still access the content they have bought outside of an application, but buying new content requires manually opening a browser and navigating to the necessary website."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 in the future." - Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division

According to the DOJ, the changes would "reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy." A U.S. District Court judge found Apple guilty of e-book price fixing last month, but the iPad maker has vowed to appeal the decision.

The proposed DOJ settlement would also require Apple to terminate its existing e-book agreements with the five major publishers it was found to have conspired with to fix prices. Those publishers are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster.

In addition, Apple would be prevented from entering new e-book distribution contracts with those publishers for five years, constraining the company from competing on price.

The DOJ settlement would also go beyond e-books, prohibiting Apple from entering agreements with suppliers of "music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple's competitor retailers may sell that content."

"The court found that Apple's illegal conduct deprived consumers of the benefits of e-book price competition and forced them to pay substantially higher prices," said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

The proposal, made public Friday, is pending court approval.
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Seriously? Is this really happening?


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  • Posted by khalling 6 years, 10 months ago
    This case illustrates how US Anti-Trust Laws turn the rule against monopolies under the Statute of Monopolies of 1623 on its head.
    The Statute of Monopolies limited the power of GOVT to interfere with one's natural right to property and to contract. whereas US anti trust law, increases the power of govt-allowing it to interfere with one's natural right to property and to contract
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  • Posted by mjgolsen 6 years, 10 months ago
    "Our philosophy is simple -- when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share," said Jobs in a statement released Feb. 15. "When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing." --STEVE JOBS, 2011
    Simple enough, right? Steve's game, Steve's rules. Don't like it? Go get an order from the largest armed mob on planet earth; their game, for all games :(
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  • Posted by ScoutsPushDeep 6 years, 10 months ago
    Ok, plain and simple for Apple user- DONT BE AN APPLE USER!!
    If they are monopolizing the market, then the consumers should be the ones to put a stop to it instead of government.
    If the consumers are dumb enough to continue to use Apple products, knowing that they are paying higher prices then they deserve the price they are forced to pay.
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    • Posted by 6 years, 10 months ago
      I'm an Apple convert. I was a windows user for close to 20 years. I didn't "get" the Apple thing either - I used to call Apple products toys and Apple customers idiots too.

      Until I got my first Apple product.

      It's a whole different world. And worth every extra penny. You don't know what you're missing.
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      • Posted by DragonLady 6 years, 10 months ago
        You're absolutely right. Commerce should be consumer driven, not government driven. It's called a free market. If you don't like Apple, you don't have to buy theit products. (I'm a CrackBerry freak, myself but I do have an iPod :-D
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    • Posted by Snoogoo 6 years, 10 months ago
      Exactly, apple users are already idiots, paying 50% more than comparable products for stupid branding and the "image" of being an apple user. If they want to keep on doing that, let them do it. It's their money. But of course, letting the government do all of the thinking for us is so much easier.

      "WAR IS PEACE
      FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
      IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"
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  • Posted by Mattwahl 6 years, 9 months ago
    I filed a complaint with the BBB about how amazon is using DOJ as a club against apple.

    I've actually got quite a few responses back. I think BBB strikes a chord with them.

    When in Rome !
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  • Posted by originalgrissel 6 years, 10 months ago
    As heavy handed as I think this decision was in some aspects, I don't see that consumers had much choice but to ask the government to intervene in this case. Consumers couldn't fix this problem by letting the free market deal with it, because Apple had succeeded in removing the free market from e-book sales when they conspired with publishers to ensure that other e-book sellers were forced to charge the same retail price they were charging. This wasn't a situation where if you didn't like the price Apple set for their books, you could buy them from someone else, cheaper because Apple had bullied the publishers into renegotiating contracts that forbade other e-book sellers from setting their own retail price anymore. That was the point of the case.
    The "price fixing" they are referring to was Apple colluding with the publishers named in the suit to fix prices not just for e-books bought through Apple devices and apps but to fix them for e-books purchased via Barns & Noble & Amazon. That was the problem. Prior to Apple joining the e-book game, Amazon & B&N purchased their digital books from the publisher for an agreed upon, contracted, FULL price and then resold them at a loss, for less than they paid for them to consumers. The publishers were still getting paid the full price for their product by Amazon & other book sellers, but the book sellers were setting the retail price lower to encourage customers to purchase the Kindle/Nook reading devices, which they had every right to do. Apple didn't like that and feared being undercut if someone could get a particular e-book cheaper from Amazon or B&N, so they told the publishers that the only way those publishers could offer their books via Apple's e-book store was if they forced other book sellers to sell at the price Apple wanted to charge, once those book sellers renewed their contracts. The publishers agreed and basically refused to sell any digital content to other e-book sellers unless they (the publishers) got to set the retail price themselves. Not exactly "free market" thinking if you ask me. What it comes down to is that Apple didn't want to have to lower their prices to compete with Amazon or B&N. They didn’t give a crap about the free market. They wanted to control the market and they used the publishers to do the strong arming for them. Consumers were being screwed no matter what device or e-book platform they used and the only solution was to bring it before the courts. The fact that the DOJ has over reached with their punishment isn't surprising, but there was sadly, no other remedy for the situation for consumers.
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    • Posted by Genez 6 years, 10 months ago
      Despite the fact that there was 'price fixing' involved. There is still some free market at work. It still depends on the experience and the customers choice to buy from whomever they prefer. I like the Kindle interface. So I downloaded a Kindle app on my tablet and iPhone and buy my ebooks from Amazon. I've found a number of new authors who have published on Amazon through their fairly easy self publish process and have been happy to support them there, as opposed to maybe not finding them in the iBookstore (or whatever it's called).
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    • Posted by $ KahnQuest 6 years, 10 months ago
      I'm willing to concede the point about price fixing. However, I think the free market was still in play, albeit with less desirable choices. Consumers could still opt for buying in hardcopy where available, and could still choose to not buy at all. Unfortunately, consumers are not used to doing without in order to prove a point.
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  • Posted by $ KahnQuest 6 years, 10 months ago
    This is a deliberate dilution of the term "price fixing." The term originally applied to collusion among competitors; for example, all of the gas stations in town colluding to fix the price of gasoline at an artificially high number.

    SPD has it right - if you don't like Apple's prices, switch platforms. The high switching cost does not bestow upon the user the "right" to tell Apple how to price its products.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 6 years, 10 months ago
    From "not allowed" to "required."
    >>Amazon and Barnes & Noble are not currently allowed to link from their native iOS apps to outside e-book stores. But the U.S. Department of Justice has proposed a settlement that would require Apple to allow such links for a two-year period.<<
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