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A win for readers? DOJ's proposed measures for Apple would make price-shopping easier

One part of a proposal to enforce the verdict against Apple for allegedly fixing e-book prices would require Amazon and Barnes & Noble 'buy' buttons in the Apple store, allowing consumers to easily compare e-book costs.

By Staff Writer / August 5, 2013

Apple headquarters is located in Cupertino, Calif.

Paul Sakuma/AP

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If proposed measures that would be imposed on Apple go forward, book customers may be able to compare prices for e-book titles more easily.

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As reported by Monitor writer Katherine Jacobsen, in the wake of a US District Court finding Apple guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices, the Department of Justice is suggesting Apple be the subject of various measures to enforce the verdict. These would include ending the company's current agreements with the five publishers with which it was accused of conspiring to fix prices and posting links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble within app stores, which would allow consumers to check other prices for a specific title. The measures would require Apple to provide the links to the other businesses free of charge.

Apple, however, is not pleased about the proposal, calling the measures “a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple's business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm.”

The company allegedly conspired with five publishers to go with what is known as the “agency model” in selling e-books, a system in which the publisher would determine the price of e-books, and not the retailer. The agency model was said to be part of an effort to combat Amazon’s price structure, which at the time set the cost for a new e-book at $9.99.

Will the court's proposed measures be enforced? The US District Court in New York will discuss the matter at a hearing on Aug. 9.

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