This morning, the Justice Department proposed a remedy in the Apple e-book pricing case that requested a smorgasbord of sanctions against the Cupertino-based company. Unsurprisingly, Apple was not particularly happy with the ideas that the DOJ set forth.
“Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction is a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm,” the company said in its filing in response to the DoJ’s proposal.
The Justice Department is asking, among other things, for the judge to require that Apple check with a court-appointed antitrust overseer before entering into any contracts with other companies to ensure that the company’s agreements wouldn’t increase the price of goods on any market, not just in the realm of e-books.
Apple is having none of that, saying: “This absurdly broad proposal is not only disconnected from any evidence adduced at trial or findings made by this Court, but would open Apple up to liability in virtually every content market for the actions of content producers, over which it has no control.”
In addition, if the DoJ has its way, Apple would be required to allow Barnes & Noble and Amazon to link to their own book stores through their iOS apps. Currently, neither company does so because of App Store rules restricting the practice.
Here’s what Apple, according to its filing, thinks would constitute a valid injunction:
“A potentially valid injunction could include: (1) reasonable limitations on Apple’s ability to share information (akin to the publishers’ consent decrees.)…(2) a prohibition, tracking the publishers’ consent decrees, on retail price MFNs in agreements with the publisher defendants; and (3) reasonable antitrust training obligations for Apple, lasting a reasonable term. No further relief can be justified under the legal standard governing antitrust injunctions or the Constitution.”
Whether the Justice Department or Apple will get their way remains under the control of Denise Cote, the judge assigned to the case.
Previously on GeekWire: DOJ’s proposed Apple order could help Amazon sell more Kindle books on iPad, iPhone
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.