Apple Fires Back at DOJ with New Terms for E-Book Sales

Apple is not happy with the Department of Justice and friends. On Friday afternoon, just a few hours after the DOJ and 33 state attorneys general proposed a series of remedies for Apple's anticompetitive behavior over e-book pricing, the company struck back with some proposals of its own.

Apple's reaction can be best described as dramatic. The company called the government's proposals a "draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple's business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm." Further, Apple maintains that it didn't violate any antitrust law, despite what the judge said earlier this year, and even if they did, they've since changed their behavior. But—and this feels like a big "but" based on Apple's wording—if something must be done, the government should place "reasonable limitations on Apple's ability to share information" and issue "reasonable antitrust training obligations for Apple, lasting a reasonable term."

This doesn't really jive with what the government wants to do. Rather than limit contact, the DOJ and friends want Apple to terminate its agreements with the five publishers implicated in the case and prevent Apple from forming new agreements for five years. They also want Apple to allow rivals like Amazon and Barnes and Noble to link to their own stores for in-app purchases rather than be required to go through Apple's iBookstore. There should also be a monitor in place to make sure Apple behaves, the DOJ said.

Now comes the fun part. Apple, the Department of Justice and the attorneys general will ideally find some middle ground where Apple doesn't feel like its getting stomped on and the government doesn't feel like Apple's price fixing and trying to be a monopoly. Because nobody likes a monopoly; nobody likes to get stomped on; and everybody likes affordable e-books. [CNET]

Image via Flickr / Johan Larsson