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August 5, 2013

US regulators call for Apple to cancel e-book contracts

Move comes after a court ruled that Apple work together with five firms to fix the price of e-books in July.

By CBR Staff Writer

US regulators have called for Apple to cancel certain e-book contracts with major publishers.

They demanded the iPhone maker should be hit with a five-year ban on signing distribution contracts considered to be anti-competitive.

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division’s move comes in wake of a court ruling in July that Apple work together with five firms to fix the price of e-books.

Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Bill Baer, said the court found that Apple’s illegal conduct deprived consumers of the benefits of e-book price competition, forcing them to pay substantially higher prices.

"Under the department’s proposed order, Apple’s illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future," Baer said.

The court also ruled that the iPhone maker had supported publishers to set their e-books’ price, rather than enabling retailers to decide the price.

According to prosecutors, Apple’s move was targeted at Amazon, whose e-books were charged lower prices compared to Apple.

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As part of the move, the regulators have also demanded Apple to offer links to other e-book retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble for two years.

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