DOJ Wants to Force Apple to Let You Buy E-Books Directly from Amazon

Illustration for article titled DOJ Wants to Force Apple to Let You Buy E-Books Directly from Amazon

After a U.S. District Court judged found Apple guilty of colluding with book publishers to fix the prices of e-books last month, it was unclear what the actual consequences would be for the iPad-maker. Well with little pomp or circumstance, the Department of Justice has just cleared that up, and it's not good for Apple.


Along with the 33 state attorneys general involved, the DOJ submitted a proposal on Friday that would require Apple to immediately terminate its agreements with the five book publishers it's been working with since the launch of the iPad. It would also bar Apple from entering into any new agreements with publishers for five-years as well as entering into agreements with other content providers that would cause prices to rise.

Perhaps most interesting, however, is that the proposal would force Apple to allow rivals like Amazon and Barnes and Noble to include links to their own bookstores instead of redirecting everyone to the iBookstore. Because, you know, that's only fair.

One more thing: the DOJ proposal would require Apple to employ an "external monitor" to make sure it doesn't engage in any more anti-competitive behavior by "training Apple's senior executives and other employees about the antitrust laws and ensuring that Apple abides by the relief ordered by the court."

For the time being, this is only a proposal, but it's one that falls in line with everything the DOJ said it would do if Apple was found guilty. And they were. So there's little reason to believe these things won't come true. [AllThingsD]


Forcing them to place links to OTHER content providers in their OWN storefronts?

Have you tried finding iTunes gift cards on Amazon?

Something stinks of bias from someone in the DOJ, and I don't think this will pass, simply due to the inclusion of that "links to other stores" thing. Apple obviously have VERY powerful lawyers that could make a strong case in an appeal of this punishment.

EDIT: I now see that iTunes gift cards are indeed there now. I was completely unable to find them last year when I had Amazon credit burning a hole in my pocket and I desperately wanted a few education apps.

Even so, imagine Amazon providing links to iBooks, or Best Buy openly advertising Amazon's pricing on the very same price tags in their stores.

Or even better, the Google Play store advertising the app prices of their iOS counterparts.

The very notion is absurd.