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Apple warns about adverse ebooks antitrust ruling

Bad for biblio-businesses
Fri Jun 21 2013, 11:28
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WALLED GARDEN CONTENT VENDOR Apple has contended that a ruling against it in an ebooks antitrust case would be a ruling against businesses in general.

The firm was in court yesterday, according to Reuters, and while there warned those in attendance about a "chilling effect" of an anti-agency agreement action.

Apple lawyer Orin Snyder said that action against Apple wouldn't just penalise the fruit themed firm but would set a bad precedent.

Snyder said that such as a decision would "send shudders through the business community", adding, "We submit a ruling against Apple on this record sets a dangerous precedent."

The US Justice Department (DoJ) has accused Apple of conspiring with US publishers. The firm is concerned that action against it resulting from meetings it had with other businesses would harm the well known business practice of having business meetings.

The lawyer denied allegations about backroom handshakes and business collusion, claiming that if they happened it would have been without his knowledge. "There is no such thing as a conspiracy by telepathy," he said.

There have been accusations about anti-competitive business practices in Europe, and last year the European Union closed its investigation with a settlement.

"While each separate publisher and each retailer of e-books are free to choose the type of business relationship they prefer, any form of collusion to restrict or eliminate competition is simply unacceptable," said Joaquín Almunia, European Commission VP in charge of competition policy in December.

"The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers (Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette and Holtzbrinck) will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books".

Three firms, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster have already settled with the DoJ. The US government antitrust lawsuit will proceed against Apple, Penguin and Macmillan. Penguin requested a settlement in April. µ


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