New York - A US judge who found Apple conspired to fix e-book prices imposed new restrictions on the iPad maker on Friday, limiting its agreements with publishers.
US District Judge Denise Cote in New York also said she would appoint an external monitor to review Apple’s antitrust compliance policies, procedures and training for two years.
The injunction was narrower than the US Department of Justice had sought, in line with Judge Cote’s statement last week that she wanted it “to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business”.
The department had sought an injunction that could have affected Apple’s agreements with suppliers of movies, music and television shows.
Judge Cote ruled on July 10 that Apple was liable for conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices above those established by the dominant retailer in the market, Amazon.com.
The five publishers, all of which have settled with regulators, include Lagardere’s Hachette Book Group, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin’s Random House, CBS’s Simon & Schuster and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck’s Macmillan.
The terms of Friday’s judgment will expire after five years, but Judge Cote’s order allows for extensions in one-year increments if necessary. The Justice Department welcomed the injunction.
“Consumers will continue to benefit from lower e-book prices as a result of the department’s enforcement action to restore competition in this important industry,” assistant attorney-general Bill Baer said in a statement.
Apple said that it would appeal against the injunction.”Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” company spokesman Tom Neumayr said.
“The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.”
Apple’s shares gained 0.6 percent to $498.22 (R4 993) on Friday. – Reuters