U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has issued an injunction against Apple for its involvement in fixing e-book prices, Reuters reports. Cote barred Apple from entering any agreements with the five major publishers — Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette — that would impede its ability to reduce e-book prices or offer discounts. Judge Cote also said an external monitor would be appointed for two years to prevent antitrust behavior from Apple. The terms will expire after five years, but the judgment could be extended in one-year increments. As expected, no App Store changes were included in the injunction.
Additionally, GigaOM notes Apple may not enforce most-favored-nation clauses in any e-book publishing contracts for five years. The company must also stagger new contract negotiations with the five major publishers in an order set by the judge. Apple plans to appeal the injunction. “Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.”
Macmillan and Penguin — two publishers that agreed to settle in the Apple e-book price-fixing case — now have a website detailing the distribution of a $162.25 million settlement fund. Customers eligible to receive a settlement payment are already being contacted. U.S. customers who purchased one or more e-books from Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, or Hachette between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 — including their divisions — are included in the settlement. Those who bought e-books through Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo will not be required to fill out a claim — Amazon customers will receive an automatic credit, while those who used the other e-bookstores will be notified to activate a credit. Though the exact payment amounts are unknown, the website estimates customers could receive $3.06 for each New York Times bestseller e-book, and $ .73 for non-NY Times bestsellers. This settlement will not affect any customer rights that may come from the conclusion of the ongoing Apple e-book lawsuit.
The judge who found Apple guilty of fixing e-book prices doesn’t want the government’s proposed remedies to drastically affect Apple’s business, reports the Associated Press. “I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business,” U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said. Cote believes any provisions that would affect the App Store — such as allowing third party apps to link to their own e-bookstores — are unnecessary. “The App store (sic) was only an incidental part of this trial,” she said. Cote also said she would likely limit the authority of a monitor that would be assigned to prevent antitrust behavior at Apple. A trial to determine damages is still set for May 2014.
The five major U.S. publishers that settled with the U.S. government prior to trial are objecting to the U.S. Department of Justice’s proposed remedy for Apple’s e-book price fixing, The Wall Street Journal reports. In a court filing, publishers said eliminating the “agency model” for five years as proposed would harm the publishers instead of Apple, since publishers were given the ability to set the retail prices for e-books under the model. The publishers — Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Hachette, and HarperCollins — all settled with the government before a price fixing trial, while Apple went to court and was subsequently found guilty of fixing e-book prices. Apple has spoken out against the DOJ’s proposal, calling it a “draconian and punitive intrusion.”
Apple has responded to the U.S. Department of Justice’s proposed restrictions to remedy the company’s e-book price fixing, calling the proposal “a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business.” The company argues in its opposing brief that the restrictions proposed today could cost both dollars and “lost opportunities for American businesses and consumers.” Apple doesn’t believe any further injunction is warranted — but if an injunction is issued, the company suggests mild limitations and obligations which would be a far cry from what the DOJ suggests. A hearing on the remedies is set for Aug. 9. [via AllThingsD]
The U.S. Department of Justice has released a proposed remedy addressing Apple’s e-book price fixing, for which the company was found guilty last month. Under the proposal, Apple would be required to terminate “existing agreements with the five publishers with which it conspired” and to “refrain for five years from entering new e-book distribution contracts which would restrain Apple from competing on price.” The company would be prohibited from “again serving as a conduit of information among the conspiring publishers or from retaliating against publishers for refusing to sell e-books on agency terms.” Apple would also be prohibited from entering into agreements with any content providers that are “likely to increase the prices at which Apple’s competitor retailers may sell that content.” Additionally, for two years, Apple would be required to allow other retailers — such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble — to provide links from their own e-book apps to their e-bookstores, allowing for easy comparison between their own prices and Apple’s prices.
The DOJ is also “asking the court to appoint an external monitor to ensure that Apple’s internal antitrust compliance policies are sufficient to catch anticompetitive activities before they result in harm to consumers.” Apple would pay the salary and expenses of the court-appointed monitor. It must be noted that the DOJ’s proposal must be approved in court. A hearing on the remedies is scheduled to be held on August 9.
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue revealed a number of additional details about Steve Jobs and the iBooks launch today while testifying in the DOJ’s e-book pricing conspiracy case. Cue said the “page curls” idea in the iBooks app when turning a page came from Steve Jobs, who also chose Winnie the Pooh as the free book to be included with the app. According to Cue, that’s partially because Jobs liked the book, and also because it showed off “beautiful color drawings, that had never been seen before in a digital book.” Also, Jobs used Ted Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass, during the first iPad demo because the Kennedy family “meant a lot to him.” Last week, Cue revealed a number of other details about the iBooks launch, most notably that Jobs had to be convinced of the idea of an Apple e-bookstore. [via AllThingsD]
Apple announced a major new upgrade to iBooks for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch during today’s special event. The new version features an optional continuous scrolling mode for reading, sharing of information via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter and support for over 40 languages, including Korean, Chinese and Japanese, including appropriate font styles and page turning directions. iCloud integration has also been improved, effectively providing users with easier access to their iBookstore purchases in iCloud directly on their virtual bookshelf. The iBooks update is expected to be available on the App Store later today as a free download.
Updated: iBooks 3 has been released.
During its special event today, Apple unveiled a new version of iBooks Author, its creation tool for iBooks. The new version of iBooks Author provides a collection of new templates along with the ability to implement their own custom fonts and insert mathematical expressions directly into books. Additional new features include multitouch widgets and the ability to easily update iBooks online when new editions or content updates are released. The latest version of iBooks Author is expected to be available on the Mac App Store later today as a free download.
In anticipation of the upcoming release of Marvel’s The Avengers movie, Disney Publishing Worldwide has released two new storybook apps based on the Marvel Origins series with narration by the legendary Stan Lee. In Avengers Origins: Hulk ($2), readers discover the story of Dr. Bruce Banner’s initial transformation into the Incredible Hulk accompanied by detailed artwork and animations. Interactive touch-screen activities add to the storyline with users able to perform Hulk actions such as testing their strength, breaking through walls and stopping tanks.
Avengers Origins: Assemble ($2) provides readers with an introduction to the pantheon of Marvel Super Heroes such as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. The app tells the story of war-hero Captain America who is trapped in the frozen North after a particularly dangerous and must be rescued seven decades later to join with the other Avengers to fight for the future of Earth and defend the planet from evil. In addition to action-packed artwork, sound effects and music, the app includes a collection of interactive challenges for readers including matching heroic accessories with the appropriate Super Heroes, using Thor’s powers and the Hulk’s strength to stop the Atlanteans and Namor and melt in the ice to free Captain America from his frozen prison.
The two storybook apps are designed for readers of all ages and include Read to Me, Read by Myself, Auto-Turn and Younger Reader Modes for enjoyment by children as young as 4-10 years of age. Both apps are universal for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and require iOS 4.0 or later.
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, Oceanhouse Media has released an interactive omBook app version of the book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. First published in 1937, the book recounts the tale of Marco who walks to school along Mulberry Street keeping his eyes peeled for interesting sights to share with his father, conjuring up elaborate and exciting events in his imagination as he proceeds down the street. Originally rejected by 27 publishing houses for being too fantasy based and different from typical children’s books of the time, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street ultimately became the title that launched the now-iconic Dr. Seuss series. The omBook version brings this original story to life with professional narration, background audio and enlarged artwork for each scene and also includes highlighted words and interactive images to promote reading in young children. Oceanhouse Media is an officially licensed publisher of Dr. Seuss and other children’s book titles for iOS and other mobile and tablet devices, producing interactive and educational versions of classic children’s books. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $3.
During Apple’s education event today, the company announced a new Textbook section coming to the U.S. iBookstore to showcase a new collection of interactive textbooks that will be supported by iBooks 2. In addition, Apple has partnered with three leading textbook companies that are collectively responsible for publishing 90% of textbooks including McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson. Apple has also published a new, free iBooks Author tool for Mac OS X that will enable any publisher or end user to easily create enhanced interactive textbooks to be used on the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch with the iBooks app. The new iBooks based textbooks are expected to transform the traditional learning experience by providing enhanced electronic textbooks that include rich multimedia and interactive features such as video, study cards, built-in quiz and review questions and more. Current textbooks on the iBookstore are priced at around $15 and range in size from around 800MB to about 3GB.
Amazon has released an update to its Kindle app for iOS devices adding magazine support for iPad users and document support for all iOS devices. Kindle 2.9 on the iPad now introduces a new interface for reading magazines on the device, providing iPad users with access to Amazon’s catalog of over 400 magazines and newspapers for the Kindle Fire, displayed in full colour pages. Users can purchase single issues or subscribe to magazines and newspapers and have them wirelessly delivered to the Kindle app on the iPad. The iPad version also provides a new layout for reading print replica textbooks that preserves the original formatting of the actual print editions along with support for notes and highlights, zoom and pan and a linked table of contents.
The latest Kindle app update also now allows all iOS devices to receive e-mailed documents in the same manner as the Kindle devices and introduces the ability to open PDFs from Mail, Safari and other supported iOS apps or sync PDF documents to and from the Kindle app over USB via iTunes File Sharing. The integrated Kindle PDF reader provides the PDF table of contents and thumbnail navigation to allow users to quickly navigate through PDF documents. Kindle 2.9 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.