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Proposed DoJ terms could force Apple to allow Amazon links in apps

updated 11:34 am EDT, Fri August 2, 2013

Would undo one of the stricter App Store rules

The Department of Justice has published proposed settlement terms that could force Apple to allow apps to link to outside e-book stores. Last month, the DoJ emerged victorious against Apple in a trial over e-book price fixing. Apple was accused of conspiring with publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices, in particular with the aim of undermining Amazon's once-standard $10 pricetag for Kindle titles. Modern, high-profile e-books are usually priced closer to $13 or $14.

The DoJ's terms would require Apple to allow links to stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble for two years. That would give people the chance to "easily compare Apple's prices with those of its competitors," the Department says, and help "reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy." Other proposed steps include cancelling e-book agreements with the five publishers involved in the conspiracy -- Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster -- and a ban on entering new contracts for another five years. Apple would moreover be prohibited from agreements with providers of music, movies, TV shows and other content "that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple's competitor retailers may sell that content."

App Store rules currently prohibit developers from inserting links to web stores selling digital content. Apps must either use the native in-app purchase system, which gives Apple a 30 percent cut of revenue, or create a login system that downloads content automatically if people have paid for it elsewhere. The Kindle iOS app, for instance, is only useful if people have already separately bought or uploaded books.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. makemineamac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-07-08

    Wow, what a load of crap. There was a monopoly on the e-book market by Amazon before Apple got in. Allowing links in-App would be a boon for Amazon no doubt, but pretty certain Apple can argue those types of terms are not going to benefit everyone....

  1. ctt1wbw

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 01-16-01

    What about forcing the Google Play Store with these links, or forcing Amazon with links to either store?

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    Is this ruling anti-competitive in its very nature ? Without equal terms being 'forced' on other retailers (Amazon!) the 'deck' would seem far from level ?

    I would very much like to use iBooks but cannot find the titles ? Why is that ?

    As far as I can understand nobody forced a publisher to sign with Apple... ?
    It was a choice offered...

    At what point do businesses lose the right to offer unique goods on their own free market terms?

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: 01-03-08

    Allow your competitors to sell on your device but not vice versa, cancel the contracts you have to actually sell books, and you can't sign new ones to sell books, music, media, etc....yeah, I'd imagine that's exactly how Amazon would've worded it for the DOJ.

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