back to article Apple cooperating at last on antitrust after months of wrangling – says court watchdog

Apple execs have made a "promising start" to fixing the company's antitrust compliance programme, says the monitor appointed by the court after the iPhone maker was found guilty of conspiring to fix ebook prices last year. However, the Cupertino corp has spent too much time dragging the process out, he said. Scrutinizer …


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  1. Rol Silver badge

    No APP for that?

    Aptitude for compliance that is.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Give that arrogant and petulant child a slap.

  3. Herby


    Microsoft have one of these??

    Just askin'

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Does...

      I don't think so. But Microsoft was found to have violated antitrust law thirteen years ago now; Apple was found to have violated less than a year ago. The watchdog is there for the one specific purpose of monitoring compliance concerning book pricing.

      1. SuccessCase

        Re: Does...

        "The watchdog is there for the one specific purpose of monitoring compliance concerning book pricing."

        Which actually is what Apple were complaining about. He is a friend of the judge, was there for that one purpose, but, in Kafka-esque style, appointed himself monitor of the entire company for all anti-trust matters - way beyond the scope of the remit given to him by the court - and cited Apple complaints about his expansion of scope as reason he needed the additional scope. To cap it all, he awarded himself an unfounded higher than market-rate reward for his un-sanctioned "service" plus charged for an additional lawyer admitting he needed the help because on his own he wasn't qualified for the job (but is, as noted, is a friend of the judge). Apple complained about him and his activities were curtailed and his charges slashed by the appeal court. The Register, of course, reported this as Apple failing to get him removed as they requested, when the reality is Apple will have thought there was little chance he would be removed, but certainly wanted his expansion of scope curtailed.

        Now his expansion of scope *has* been curtailed, Apple are co-operating. It seems bizarre and hardly objective that he should write about this new level of co-operation as he did without mentioning the appeal court directed that his his gravy train should get back on the court approved route and agreed he had overstepped the mark.

        Additionally, Apple don't dispute the facts of the case, but do dispute the logic of the conclusion and have appealed with a highly reasoned and well founded argument (not all appeals are, but with this one they really have some good arguments):

        After all at the end of the day, there is one monopoly in E-Books, its not Apple, and the monopolist was helped by the ruling and strengthened its grip on the EBook market. That is the monopolist was helped by the ruling of the US anti-trust powers, whose job it is to curtail unfair use of monopoly power. Something, right there, isn't right.

  4. Gartal

    Re: Re:

    "there is one monopoly in E-Books, its not Apple" I think the case is about cartel rather than monopolistic behavior. They are attempting to fix the price of something which is different to a monopoly.

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: Re:

      Yes agreed, though as I have said, Apple don't disagree with the facts and their rebuttal of the logic of the findings is an interesting read. Most haven't shown the detail:

      So the question for Apple raised in their appeal, is what qualifies as a price fixing cartel. The court agree the agency model they put forward is lawful. So presenting the agency model as a preferred option, even if done so strongly, is not alone sufficient to say they behaved as part of a price fixing cartel. So the question was over the manner of the renegotiation to the agency model and if the publishers took co-ordinated action to force it on Amazon. Apple's argument is preferring to use the model does not make them culpable for forcing it on Amazon, it was the publishers choice to do that: and there is no evidence they took coercive action targeting Amazon and it can only be seen to be targeting them *because they were 90% of the market* - which, coming from the Anti-Trust authority, is not a good argument ! That logic also seems reasonable enough. They can't be convicted just for being happy to see the result.

      They also go on to point out that though the agency model saw a rise in the price of new release books (which were priced at levels that other publishers could not match and used by Amazon to undercut competitors), it resulted in the price of books overall going down. It is reasonable to conclude that this was because for the first time, Amazon had effective competition for Ebooks. The data supports that and indeed that rather seems to back up that it is Amazon who are applying unreasonable market power. If simply the price of new releases went up that couldn't be said but that prices overall went down is very revealing of the dynamic at play.

      Here's a more detailed write-up than the average:

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