Apple got some good news for a change yesterday, when Judge Cote decided to lighten the terms of the Department of Justice’s proposed injunction in her sentencing, Andrew Albanese reports in Publishers Weekly.
Apple is getting an external antitrust monitor, but one that will focus mainly on training Apple employees in antitrust matters and helping Apple develop its antitrust policy—not messing with Apple’s business practices. The monitor will be in place for two years, with a possible extension to three if necessary. Apple also isn’t going to have to worry about having its app store regulated, or be required to allow other e-book vendors to sell through their iOS apps without paying the appstoregeld. Judge Cote didn’t think those measures would do much to help competition since they would expire in two years, and the injunction is meant to foster competition rather than punish Apple anyway.
What Apple is going to get is to have to modify its current publisher contracts to comply with the injunction, and the staggered publisher renegotiations proposed by the Department of Justice. Apple had wanted to be able to change the order in which it negotiated with publishers, rather than going by order of settlement, but that didn’t seem to be in the cards.
Beyond that, settlement talks with the states’ and class-action lawyers will continue, and the final wording of the injunction will be in by next Wednesday.
The decision sounds like it has all the hallmarks of a successful compromise—not fully pleasing everyone, but not fully disappointing them either. It should be interesting to see what effect it has on the overall e-book market.