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Appeals court gives Apple temporary reprieve from antitrust monitor

updated 12:35 pm EST, Tue January 21, 2014

Company aims for longer stay, monitor's eventual removal

The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Apple an "administrative stay," temporarily relieving it of scrutiny by antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, Reuters reports. The stay is short-term only, and in fact Apple is pursuing a longer stay while it also seeks to suspend Bromwich entirely. A three-judge panel is due to hear a motion for the longer stay as soon as possible. The Department of Justice has until January 24 to file opposition; it didn't, however, oppose the administrative stay.

Apple has accused Bromwich of straying too far in his investigation, for instance by going after executives and board members not directly connected with Apple's handling of e-book deals. The company has also complained about Bromwich's $1,100-per-hour fee, and claimed that his monitoring could interfere with development of new products.

In a trial last year, Apple was found to have conspired with book publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices. The company is said to have specifically wanted to undermine Amazon, which until the Apple iBookstore launched in 2010 was able to sell Kindle titles at a loss, for around $10, in an effort to keep out any competitors. Following a mass publisher switch to the "agency model" of pricing, Kindle prices for bestsellers went up, but overall average e-book prices have dropped, and Amazon no longer has a monopoly position in the market.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Not so. Electronista staff should have done more research. Smashwords has documented how ebook prices have been declining for several years. The DOJ ruling won't do anything there. Competition will and if Amazon and the DOJ have their way, there'll be almost no competition in the ebook retail market.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    You're correct, Inkling. I'll have the sentence edited to be more accurate. Prices on bestsellers *did* rise, but not e-books generally.

  1. b9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-22-08

    When Apple joined the e-book market prices fell from $19.95 to $4.95. With no competition Amazon will keep raising prices. The real Monopoly is Amazon who should be under investigation by the DOJ. Judge Coyte and bromwich should be thrown out of the justice system for colluding to make a profit off of this scam they called a trial. More like a witch hunt with the judge already convicting Apple before the trial even started.The proof was there that showed no evidence of any monopoly on Apple's part. Also further evidence has since come forth that prices actually went down, not up when Apple entered the market further proving this sham against them was false.

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