The federal judge overseeing the hearing on possible injunctions against Apple, which was found guilty of conspiring to set prices in its iBookstore, said on Tuesday that the Department of Justice cannot regulate Apple’s App Store. The DoJ had sought to do just that in its proposed injunctions against the Cupertino firm.
Judge Denise Cote also said that the DOJ can’t make Apple change its in-app purchase rules. The DOJ had wanted to force Apple to allow in-app purchasing in competing ebook apps, like Kindle, without taking a commission.
The hearing comes ahead of a final injunction Judge Cote plans to file next week. Last month, the judge found Apple guilty of conspiring with book publishers to set e-book pricing.
“I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business…I want Apple to have the flexibility to innovate,” Judge Cote said.
However, the Judge did say she is inclined to appoint an external party to monitor Apple’s conduct, saying, “The record at trial demonstrated a blatant and aggressive disregard at Apple for the requirements of the law […] Apple has been given several opportunities to demonstrate to this Court that it has taken the lessons of this litigation seriously. I am disappointed to say that it has not taken advantage of those opportunities.”
Little discussion was given to the proposal that would require Apple to end publishers’ current agency deals, and to also require that renegotiations with individual publishers be staggered six months apart. Apple has already agreed to that, and it is likely to be included into the final injunction.