DOJ approval effectively leaves European regulators as last major acquisitions hurdle
The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services section by Microsoft has taken one more step towards completion. The US Department of Justice approval in a Federal trade Commission filing has effectively completed the deal's regulatory processes in the United States, effectively leaving just the European regulators standing in its way.
Compliance monitor returns fire in letter to board
Apple has filed a formal objection against the compliance monitor in the recent e-book price-fixing lawsuit, crying foul over the attorney's alleged $69,000 weekly fees. The company's legal team also claims the monitor, Michael Bromwich, has exceeded his authority by demanding interviews with board members and executives, such as design head Jony Ive and board member Al Gore, who are not involved in the business unit affected by the court decision.
Former DoJ Inspector General chosen for role
As expected, a New York judge has appointed an external monitor to ensure Apple's compliance with a recent antitrust injunction related to e-book price fixing. As noted by CNET, Judge Denise Cote has chosen former Assistant US Attorney and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich to work directly with Apple for two years to watch for additional antitrust violations.
Third party will monitor compliance
(Updated with DoJ statement) Apple has been hit with a permanent injunction in the e-book price-fixing case pursued by the Department of Justice. As previously noted, the company will be restricted from signing agreements with five major book publishers that could artificially inflate or reduce e-book retail prices. A third party will be tasked with directly monitoring compliance for two years, while the final judgment will expire after five years.
Uses evidence from talks between Jobs, Schiller, Cue
The US Department of Justice has filed a revised settlement proposal for the outcome of its recent trial victory against Apple. The proposal is similar to the original, but incorporates an expanded section on in-app purchases, claiming that Apple formulated its rules to "retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disapproved of" and "make it more difficult for consumers using Apple devices to compare ebook prices among different retailers."
Would've given Apple time to appeal DoJ penalties
Judge Denise Cote has denied an Apple request to temporarily stay her ruling stemming from a trial over e-book price fixing, the Associated Press reports. Had the stay gone through, it would've given Apple time to appeal settlement terms proposed by the US Department of Justice. In July, Cote found that Apple had conspired with five major book publishers -- Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster -- to artificially inflate e-book prices and undermine Amazon, which in 2009 was selling Kindle titles at a standard price of just $10.
Sign of companies operating too closely in unison, DoJ suggests
The US Department of Justice has filed a response to the book publishing industry's defense of Apple in light of possible settlement terms that could impose strict restrictions on Apple, and which the publishers suggest might alter the terms of their own settlements over allegations of fixing e-book prices. DoJ attorney Lawrence Buterman contends that the unified defense shows that the publishers have "banded together once again," as they did when conspiring to inflate prices and undermine Amazon. The publishers' motion "only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount ebooks and compete on retail price for as long as possible," the filing reads.
ITC decision, hearings on Samsung and DOJ e-book case
Tomorrow will mark a busy and important day on several legal fronts for Apple, as it awaits a much-watched International Trade Commission decision on its complaint against Samsung. In addition, two separate but important federal court hearings will be held on Friday; one related to another Apple-Samsung matter stemming from the first trial, and another where Apple will get to argue the deficiencies of the Department of Justice's proposed settlement over the e-book price-fixing case. Apple plans to appeal the DOJ verdict.
Hearing on penalties to be assessed on August 9
Five of the publishers originally involved in the e-book price fixing case with Apple have filed a motion in Judge Denise Cote's court, opposing the proposed penalties that the Department of Justice wants asserted against Apple. The five publishers claim that the Department of Justice's demand will "improperly impose additional, unwarranted restrictions on the settling defendants, thereby depriving each publisher of the benefit of its bargain with plaintiffs." The penalty proposal by the Department of Justice and all filed motions will be heard on Friday, August 9.
Claims terms would 'establish a vague new compliance regime'
Apple has lashed out at the Department of Justice's proposed terms for settling the case the latter brought over e-book price fixing. In court documents, Apple calls the terms a "draconian and punitive intrusion" into its business, with penalties "wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."
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.
Agrees to pay $56.5M in fines, jail time for executives
Panasonic has agreed to pay $56.5 million in fines for its part in price fixing conspiracies. The US Department of Justice announced that the Japanese electronics manufacturer will plead guilty for helping fix the prices of automotive parts and battery cells, which inflated the production cost of notebooks and cars for various manufacturers.
Decision could impact Amazon, iBookstore, future of e-book prices
Apple indeed violated antitrust laws, conspiring with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, US District Judge Denise Cote has ruled in a Manhattan court. The company is said to have colluded with Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster in order to undermine Amazon, which until the launch of Apple's iBookstore was able to sell e-books for a standard $10. Cote notes that the publishers' switch to an agency model, prompted by talks with Apple, forced a number of e-books to climb in price to $13 or $15.
Amazon becomes as much a focus as tactics used by Apple
While nobody knows how Judge Denice Cote will rule in the two-week e-book price-fixing trial brought against Apple by the US Department of Justice, everyone who has been keeping tabs on the trial as it unfolded knows one thing: Judge Cote has been given more to consider after hearing Apple's vigorous defense of its actions and the performance of witnesses in the trial -- from both sides of the case. The same judge who had offered a pre-trial opinion that the DOJ would likely prove conspiracies said it all at the close: "things change."
Testimony from Cue, Barnes & Noble exec change tone of trial
After having begun the case against Apple brought by the Department of Justice with a set of blistering opinions that essentially concluded the iPhone maker was guilty of the e-book price-fixing charge against it, Judge Denise Cote has been seen to change her position considerably over the course of the trial. On Thursday, as part of the winding down of the witness portion of the trial, she noted that she had "learned a lot" from the evidence after having felt "very prepared" ahead of the trial, and that the "issues have shifted" since the trial began.
Was concerned about how self-publishing, aggregators would be handled
According to a an email exchange between then-CEO Steve Jobs and Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue submitted in court earlier today as part of the Department of Justice's e-book price-fixing trial, Apple's co-founder and then-leader read Mac rumor-and-news sites such as AppleInsider and would question the veracity of items found there. In the exchange, which happened just three months after Apple had launched the iBookstore, Jobs wants to know more about self-publishing options.
Little new during executive's final court date
Under questioning at the ongoing DoJ v. Apple antitrust trial, the man who negotiated Apple's iBookstore deals with publishers -- Eddy Cue -- today disclosed some minor facts about Steve Jobs' involvement with the iBooks app. The topic came up during examination by Apple attorney Orin Snyder. Earlier in the trial, Cue established that Jobs was heavily into the concept of iBooks and the iBookstore once iPad development started ramping up. During today's testimony, Cue revealed that Jobs had micromanaged some of the smallest details of iBooks.
Witnesses to include current iTunes, iBookstore heads
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple is entering its final four days this week, according to Fortune. The original orchestrator of Apple's publisher deals for the iBookstore, Eddy Cue, is resuming court testimony today, having last testified on Thursday afternoon. Today's topics are expected to include a dinner Cue had with Macmillan's CEO, and disputed emails written to Cue by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Blames publishers' resentment towards Amazon prices
Apple's senior VP for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, testified today in defense of the company at the Department of Justice's ongoing antitrust trial over e-book prices. Cue was responsible for negotiating publisher deals to help launch the iBookstore in 2010. Apple is accused, however, of colluding with publishers to switch the e-book industry to an agency model, specifically with the aim of forcing prices higher and undermining Amazon's then-standard $10 pricetag.
Jobs' tone, content of mail differ entirely than DoJ draft email
In the e-book price fixing case between the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Apple, the Cupertino manufacturer has submitted the actual sent email from then-CEO Steve Jobs to Eddy Cue, which has both a different tone and substantially different content to the hostile "draft" email (never sent) that the DoJ raised as evidence of an intent to force Amazon to accept higher prices by colluding with the book publishers earlier in the case.
Suggests Apple was aiming at forcing Amazon to accept higher prices
As a result of an email written by former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple may have suffered a significant blow at the e-book antitrust trial being pursued by the Department of Justice. Fortune reports that the head of Apple's iBookstore, Keith Moerer, testified yesterday that Apple had never asked or pressured any book publisher into changing contracts with Amazon from a wholesale model to Apple's preferred agency model, in which publishers can dictate higher prices. Apple was "indifferent" to what model publishers used with Amazon, Moerer claimed.
Collusion claims cast into doubt
The Department of Justice suffered an early blow in its antitrust case against Apple yesterday, reports say. Testifying in court was Google's director of strategic partnerships, Thomas Turvey. In previous written testimony, Turvey had claimed that representatives from book publishers told him in 2010 that they were switching to an agency model because Apple required it in its iBookstore contracts. Under cross-examination by Apple lawyer Orin Snyder however, it emerged that the written testimony was drafted with the help of Turvey's lawyers, and he was unsure who wrote the central allegations.
Revelation raises issues of equal treatment, conflict of interest
Under cross-examination from Apple's lawyers, a key government witness -- Amazon Vice President for Kindle Content Russell Grandinetti -- undermined a key element of the Department of Justice's case against the Cupertino giant by admitting that once it decided to move to the "agency model" under pressure from publishers, it demanded exactly the same terms from the publishers as Apple had required. The deal even included a 30 percent cut and a "most favored nation" (MFN) clause that is the crux of the DOJ's complaint against Apple.
Despite continued success, Amazon exec claims agency model hurt
On the third day of the e-book trial brought by the Department of Justice against Apple, the judge heard from an Amazon executive who claimed that Apple's proposal of a shift to the "agency model" of e-book pricing (where publishers set the price rather than retailers) was intended to hurt sales of Amazon's Kindle e-reader and its success as a seller of e-books. Judge Denice Cote, who is conducting the bench trial, also heard from Apple lawyers that the length of negotiations and differences in the contracts it had with publishers prove that it did not collude to set prices.
Shanks: Apple's entry benefited industry, Penguin did not collude
Testimony on the second day of Apple's trial as a defendent against the US Department of Justice on allegations of conspiracy to raise book prices appears to have gone reasonably well for the Cupertino-based electronics giant, with some mixed but friendly testimony from Penguin Group USA CEO David Shanks. Though he admitted that it was "irrational enthusiasm" for the potential 80-100 million strong customer base Apple had at the time that led Penguin to accede to many of Apple's terms during negotiations over its contract, he also defended some aspects of Apple's role.
Claims government trying to 'reverse engineer a conspiracy'
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple over e-book pricing is "bizarre," said Apple lawyer Orin Snyder yesterday during the case's opening arguments. Snyder went on to call the allegations "sinister interference" based on nebulous evidence, and complain about pre-trial comments by Judge Denise Cote inferring that the DoJ was likely to win.
Opening statements center on negotiations by Eddy Cue, not Jobs
The opening statements by the Department of Justice and Apple at the start of the trial between the two over e-book pricing have been given, with the DOJ claiming that Apple facilitated agreements with the big four publishers (five at the time; Hatchette and Penguin later merged) to present a unified front that demanded the "agency model" of pricing (where publishers set the e-book prices) in order to break Amazon of its predatory pricing habit of pricing e-books below its own cost -- which was having a deleterious effect on both e-book competitors and physical book sales.
Unusual admission of prejudice ahead of DOJ trial
In an unusual pre-trial "tentative view," the judge in charge of the Apple versus the Department of Justice trial over alleged e-book price-fixing said that the DOJ would likely be able to prove that Apple colluded with publishers to raise e-book prices, despite not having seen all available evidence. This is not the first time Judge Denise Cote has ruled against Apple ahead of a full examination of the facts.
US DOJ allows 30-day antitrust waiting period to expire unhindered
The merger between T-Mobile and MetroPCS has been given the go-ahead to proceed by the United States Department of Justice. A 30-day waiting period, put in place by antitrust laws, has expired without the DoJ offering any objections to the merger, which would see the combined Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier and MetroPCS further embed T-Mobile's position as the fourth largest US carrier.
Government still pursuing Apple over alleged fixing of e-book prices
As part of its case against Apple for allegedly conspiring to "falsely inflate" e-book prices, the US Department of Justice has opted not to pursue its plan to demand copies of the notes from Steve Jobs' biographer or testimony from Walter Isaacson himself regarding any remarks Jobs may have made about the arrangements Apple made with publishers in its effort to both set up its own e-book service and fight against the predatory pricing of Amazon, which had a near-monopoly on e-books and was driving rivals out of business.
If settlement approved, only Macmillan and Apple left standing
The United States Department of Justice confirmed today that the Penguin group has made a settlement offer in New York District Court to end its ongoing e-book price-fixing antitrust investigation. If accepted by the Department of Justice and the judge, only Apple and Macmillan will remain as defendants in the suit. Under the agreement's terms, Penguin must cease doing business with any e-book seller it is currently doing business with, including Apple. The publisher will also be prohibited from signing new deals with any distributors that limit discounts for a period of two years.
Payments a result of suit settlement with three publishers
As a result of a possible settlement between the Department of Justice and three publishers involved in a lawsuit regarding e-book price fixing, owners of Kindle e-readers will receive refunds on past e-book purchases. Amazon told Kindle owners on Saturday that they could receive a refund of between $0.30 and $1.32 per book for books purchased between April 2010 and May 2012.
Parties cite Amazon investigation, bad DOJ market analysis
US District Court Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, presiding over the Apple e-books pricing settlement case, has granted amici curiae, or friends of the court, status to two opposing parties. Writer's advocacy organization The Authors Guild and licensing expert Bob Kohn have been given permission to file an amicus brief with the court, decrying the proposed settlement, and pointing out what they see as flaws in the Department of Justice's arguments.
US DOJ faulted for evidence collection, improper process serving
The New Zealand high court has ruled that the the United States must hand over all evidence in its case against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom before any extradition can take place. The decision shut down the US Department of Justice's appeal of a lower New Zealand's court decision earlier in the year blocking the extradition pending case information.
FCC approval likely, paving way to 4G LTE buildout
The US Department of Justice said on Thursday that it would approve Verizon Wireless' $3.9 billion wireless spectrum purchase. The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, said that the FCC would also likely give the deal permission to continue -- albeit with marketing restrictions.
Settlement terminates existing contracts
Apple has blasted the Department of Justice over a settlement with several book publishers in an ongoing trial surrounding allegations of price fixing. The company argues that the proposed settlements would effectively nullify its existing contracts with the publishers—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—before any witness has been called to testify and before the court has had a chance to review details of the case.
Date a compromise between Apple, DOJ requested dates
Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has set the e-book antitrust bench trial, which pits the Department of Justice against Apple and two of the five major book publishers, to June 3, 2013. The date is much later than Apple wanted, but much earlier than the Department of Justice wanted. Apple was hoping to get the trial underway as soon as possible, citing a cloud over the industry and damage to its reputation. The DOJ had pushed for a much later start date, claiming that Federal investigators needed until March 2013 just to gather evidence, and that Apple was rushing the case.
Claims agency pricing a boon to industry
Bookseller Barnes & Noble has sent a complaint to the US Department of Justice regarding a proposed settlement in the latter's case against e-book price fixing, says paidContent. The DOJ has proposed a settlement with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, who were all accused of colluding to keep e-book prices artificially high by moving to an agency model. In its complaint, B&N claims that the settlement "represents an unprecedented effort" by the DOJ to become "a regulator of a nascent technology that it little understands," and that e-book and hardcover prices have actually fallen under the agency system.
Letter to US AG claims Google lied to investigators, DOJ
Representative Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ), and John Barrow (D-GA) are pushing the Department of Justice to reopen the completed investigation of Google's Street View and Wi-Fi data harvesting while mapping America's streets. Pallone stated "In light of the FCC report on Google Wi-Spy -- which revealed Google intentionally collected personal information from Americans—I urge the Department of Justice to re-evaluate the Google Wi-Spy incident." The FCC and DoJ report on the incident found no laws were broken by Google during the mapping, despite Pallone's interpretation of the investigation that the data gathering was a “deliberate, software-design decision."
Hitachi-LG veteran to face prison
The US Department of Justice stated Monday that a Hitachi-LG Data Storage executive had admitted to price fixing charges. Senior Sales Manager Woo Jin Yang agreed to face reduced prison time of six months, as well as pay a $25,000 fine, for artificially raising the bidding prices of CD and DVD drives sold for HP PCs. Between August 2006 and February 2009, Yang, three others, and an unnamed company had swapped information on prices, market share, and sales data at HP contractor shows to establish higher prices rather than compete for HP's business.
Bissinger hurt by Apple, Amazon no-lower-price war
The insistence on having no lower prices at e-book stores has had a conspicuous if brief casualty, according to an account. Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger shared with the New York Times that he had had his sequel book, After Friday Night Lights, pulled by Amazon after it was chosen by Starbucks as a Pick of the Week and given away through Apple's iBookstore for free through redemption codes. Amazon's automatic price check forced the Kindle price to zero, leaving online publisher Byliner.com no choice but to pull the book if it didn't want Bissinger to lose money and jeopardize the Starbucks deal.
Barnes and Noble gets investment, truce
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft on Monday settled an Android patent dispute through a union. An e-reading partnership, Newco, will see Microsoft take a $300 million, or 17.6 percent, stake in a project that should merge Barnes & Noble's Nook business and its college division. In return for the funding, Barnes & Noble will make a Nook app for Windows 8 to help foster textbooks on future Microsoft-powered tablets.
iBookstore may be forced to change in Canada too
The US lawsuit over e-book pricing was quietly preceded by civil lawsuits in Canada. An interview with Quebec attorney Normand Painchaud confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that he had asked for class action status on a lawsuit against Apple and the same five major publishers targeted by the US government. Other lawsuits have been filed in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.
Apple eager to determine case in court
Apple on Wednesday stated that its confronting a Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing was deliberate. Attorney Daniel Floyd told Judge Denise Cote that Apple believed the lawsuit was "not an appropriate case" and wanted to prove itself in court. The company wanted this to be "decided on the merits," Reuters heard while observing Floyd at a hearing.
Apple publicly responds to DOJ lawsuit
Apple after silence through the past two days responded Thursday to the Department of Justice lawsuit over alleged e-book pricing collusion. Spokesman Tom Neumayr flatly rejected the accusations when asked for comment by AllThingsD, recapping the company's objections to the European Union that the iBookstore was beneficial as it was created. The iPad-focused store kept Amazon from having excessive control and improved e-books themselves, Neumayr said, pointing out that the move beyond the Kindle format also upgraded books themselves.
DOJ starts lawsuit to force fair e-book prices
(Updated with settlement news) As suspected, the US Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers over claims of unfair e-book pricing. The complaint accuses Apple of colluding with publishers by both requiring a switch to an agency model, where publishers set the prices and ask for more, as well as demanding "most favored nation" status where no rival could have a lower price than the iBookstore. Some publishers are believed to have settled, but Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster are all targeted.
DOJ may decide Apple must be forced to change
A pair of sources said Tuesday that the Department of Justice may sue Apple over its e-book pricing concerns as soon as tomorrow, April 11. Deals were being wrapped up with "several" publishers this week, Reuters had heard, but Apple wasn't in discussions and could face legal action soon. No final decision had been made, which given the timing could see a lawsuit moved until later.
Apple may be last to bend on e-book truce
Some progress has been made on trying to negotiate a settlment on e-book antitrust disputes in the US and Europe, insiders disclosed Wednesday. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have reportedly agreed to terms that would dissolve the iBookstore deals they struck, the Wall Street Journal said, which gave them control over pricing and required that they offer no lower price than at Apple's store. Apple, Macmillan, and Pearson, however, were claimed to be "reluctant" to make a deal.
Leaks have Apple giving up lowest-price claue
Apple may be ready to make important concessions to settle a possible Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing, a pair of sources claimed Friday. Although not concrete, a deal could come "in the next few weeks," the Reuters insiders said. The core of the deal would revolve around Apple dropping its "most favored nation" clause, which bars publishers from offering a lower price at other stores.
Verizon raises chance of pay TV on mobile for deal
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in conversation Thursday raised the prospect of a mobile video service to try and secure its cable provider spectrum deal. He argued to the Wall Street Journal that an "integrated" service, where paid TV subscribers could watch the content on a device like a phone or tablet, could be ready by the end of the year. The offer would take advantage of a companion part of the deal, where either company could sell a service from the other.