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August 9, 2013

Publishers challenge restrictions on Apple e-book

July's US court ruling is described as "heavy handed."

By Claire Vanner

Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster and Penguin are among publishers that have filed a complaint against restrictions imposed on Apple by a US court.

In July, Apple was found guilty of conspiring with publishers to fix the price of e-books bought on iTunes. The court ruled that, under agreements put in place between Apple and companies including Hatchett and Macmillan, electronic book price-fixing took place, creating unfair competition for other retailers.

The tech giant was ordered to terminate deals with five major companies and allow other e-book retailers to sell to iPhone and iPad users for the next two years. The publishers claim that they are being punished by the restrictions.

A joint statement from the complainants read: "The provisions do not impose any limitation on Apple’s pricing behaviour at all. Rather, under the guise of punishing Apple, they effectively punish [publishers that settled in the case]."

Garner analyst Van Baker described the ruling as "heavy-handed," adding: "It is basically putting a stake through a portion of Apple’s business, and I confess to being surprised by that.

"It strikes me as a pretty heavy-handed solution to the issue."

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