Following up the US Department of Justice’s proposal published today, which would force Apple to end its contracts with the five publishers involved in the price-fixing case, Apple has filed an opposition brief calling the DOJ’s requirements “draconian” and “punitive” (via The Next Web).
Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction is a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm. Plaintiffs propose a sweeping and unprecedented injunction as a tool to empower the Government to regulate Apple’s businesses and potentially affect Apple’s business relationships with thousands of partners across several markets. Plaintiffs’ overreaching proposal would establish a vague new compliance regime—applicable only to Apple—with intrusive oversight lasting for ten years, going far beyond the legal issues in this case, injuring competition and consumers, and violating basic principles of fairness and due process. The resulting cost of this relief—not only in dollars but also lost opportunities for American businesses and consumers—would be vast.
Apple also points out that the changes would require serious modifications in terms of how the apps work — which would represent a major step backward for the company, since more than a year and half has passed since the in-app subscription was introduced, and new rules have been in use since then.
“Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction would require Apple to carve out an exception to its blanket rule—applicable to the more than 850,000 apps in the App Store—that a commission applies to in-app sales of digital goods,” says Apple, “and it would allow e-book retailers to make such sales commission-free.”
Apple argues that the ruling requiring Apple to allow Amazon and other eBook sellers to post links to their own store within their apps isn’t connected to the court’s findings in the case, nor the evidence presented in the trial.
Here are Apple’s arguments against the DOJ proposal:
- An Injunction Is Unnecessary Because Plaintiffs Have Already Achieved Their Legitimate Remedial Objectives
- The Proposed Injunction Terms Are Unnecessary, Overbroad, Vague, and Punitive
- A Ten-Year External Compliance Monitorship Would Be Unprecedented and Unwarranted
And here is what Apple proposes:
- Reasonable limitations on Apple’s ability to share information (akin to the publishers’ consent decrees…)
- A prohibition, tracking the publishers’ consent decrees, on retail price MFNs [Most Favored Nations] in agreements with the publisher defendants
- Reasonable antitrust training obligations for Apple, lasting a reasonable term.
You can read the full statement below: