Apple Hit With eBooks Price Fixing Penalty

It could have been worse. U.S. District Judge Denise Cole, the judge who found Apple guilty of conspiring with publishers to fix ebooks prices, has laid out the company’s punishment. Apple is not to enter into any deals with the five major U.S. publishers that would “impede its ability to reduce ebook retail prices or offer price discounts”.

Apple will also get an official external babysitter to ensure that the company is complying with antitrust policies, including procedures and training, for the next two years. The injunction itself extends for the next five years.

Apple iBooks

There was no word of financial penalties for Apple, which the firm pursuing the case against the company said at one point could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Initially, Reuters says that the U.S. Justice Department wanted to look at Apple’s agreements with other content providers in its music and video segments, but Judge Cole left the punishment and oversight at ebooks only.

Apple of course denies any wrongdoing, with spokesman Tom Neumayr saying, “Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing. The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.”

Either way, the ruling and injunction will allow for lower e-books prices for consumers.