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Judge sets rules for Apple in e-book business

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

New York, Sep 6 (EFE).- The federal judge who concluded in July that Apple Inc. conspired with publishing companies to raise the prices of e-books has imposed conditions on the tech giant's e-book business.

Apple's accords with five major publishers - Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and News HarperCollins - may not preclude the company from discounting e-books, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said in her injunction, published Friday.

She also plans to name an external monitor to keep an eye on Apple's antitrust compliance for two years.

The Cupertino, California-based company is likewise prohibited from disclosing the details of its pact with one publisher to another.

The U.S. Justice Department last year sued Apple and the five publishers for colluding to artificially drive up the price of e-books as part of a battle with internet retailer Amazon.

All five publishers settled with the Justice Department, but Apple fought the suit.

"Apple not only willingly joined the conspiracy, but also forcefully facilitated it," Cote said in her July decision. "This price-fixing conspiracy would not have succeeded without the active facilitation and encouragement of Apple."

The company said it plans to appeal the injunction.

"Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing," spokesman Tom Neumayr said. "The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130906/judge-sets-rules-apple-e-book-business