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Apple says DOJ eBook proposal is biased towards Amazon

Apple has accused the US Department of Justice [DOJ] of bias towards Amazon after a proposal to change the way Apple does eBook business were produced in the wake of an eBook price fixing case they lost last month.

The firm argue that the proposal “introduces needless regulation and complexity to an evolving marketplace” and didn’t fully agree with any of those put forward.

Apple stated that the new proposal is a “broadside masquerading as a brief” and is a “transparent attempt effort to attack the credibility of Apple and its counsel, and obtain an injunction wildly out of proportion to the issues and evidence in the case.”

The DOJ wants Apple to change the way it sells content in the App Store in three ways. One is to allow other eBook retailers to sell eBooks in their own apps without Apple taking a cut, two is for staggered negotiations to have to take place with eBook publishers and the final one is to allow third party monitoring of Apple to make sure it doesn’t try and fix prices again.

The first of these proposals is where Apple’s main gripe lies, as it explains in the latest filing.

“Plaintiffs devote much of their brief to seeking to justify an injunction directed at Apple’s unilateral dealings with Amazon (and other e-book retailers) in its App Store, an issue that the plaintiffs did not pursue at trial. Plaintiffs are seeking a remedy that would give Amazon significant competitive advantage over Apple — an advantage it is neither entitled to nor deserves,” Apple said.

Apple has agreed that it will stagger negotiations with book publishers as long as it can choose the order in which the negotiations take place. In terms of the third party monitoring, it doesn’t want an external monitor overseeing the process but “will devote even greater resources to antitrust compliance going forward”.

The case dates back to April 2012 when the DOJ originally accused Apple of fixing eBook prices with five publishers. The publishers settled with the government and Apple fought back and took the case to a trial, which they eventually lost.

Image Credit: Flickr (Leondel)