Following a long legal battle with the US Department of Justice, Apple was found guilty of conspiring with publishers (all of which settled out of court) to keep ebook prices artificially high.
Now the DoJ says Apple must end the “illegal” activity by tearing up its existing agreements with publishers, and making moves to allow more competition on its own devices.
According to the DoJ’s press release on Friday, one “remedy” would be to allow the like of Amazon, Barns & Noble and co. to include links to their respective stores within the Kindle and Nook iOS apps.
That way, the government said, buyers would easily be able to compare prices with Apple’s own iBooks store.
“Apple will also be prohibited from entering into agreements with suppliers of e-books, music, movies, television shows or other content that are likely to increase the prices at which Apple’s competitor retailers may sell that content,” the DoJ wrote.
“To reset competition to the conditions that existed before the conspiracy, Apple must also for two years allow other e-book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to provide links from their e-book apps to their e-bookstores, allowing consumers who purchase and read e-books on their iPads and iPhones easily to compare Apple’s prices with those of its competitors.”
Currently, neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble includes links to its online stores, because links to external shopping portals are banned under Apple’s App Store rules.
The company’s could sell books directly from the apps but have to hand over 30 per cent of the proceeds to Apple as it counts as an in-app purchase.
Earlier this week we brought news of a new Kindle for iOS app, which utilised a crafty, yet arduous work around to allow users to purchase books from Kindle without Apple profiting from the transaction.
The retailer added a new library samples section, which made all books searchable within the app for the first time and allowed users to download sections of the book for free.
At the end of the preview users were given the chance to email themselves a link to the mobile site where they could buy the book. Today’s news could make it much easier for the likes of Amazon to sell their books on Apple’s own devices.
The DoJ also said it was seeking to appoint an “external monitor” to keep its eye on Apple to make sure it behaves itself in the future. Naughty, naughty.