Apple Loses Bid for Stay|of Antitrust Verdict

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Apple cannot block a verdict that found it had conspired with major book publishers to raise book prices in violation of antitrust laws, a federal judge ruled at a hearing late Friday.
     The tech giant sought the temporary suspension amid plans to appeal the July findings of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote.
     But Cote remained firm at the Friday hearing. “I don’t find that Apple has shown it is likely to succeed on appeal,” she said.
     Cote also was cautious about moving forward with any injunctions against Apple, and hesitated to order – on the advice from the Justice Department in a briefing last week – that Apple either hire an in-house antitrust compliance monitor or be appointed a federal one to oversee that it does not violate antitrust laws in the future.
     “I want to be sure that nothing I do discourages innovation” in the ever-changing Digital Age market, Cote said. “I don’t want to do more than necessary to protect the market and consumers,” while at the same time “allow the market to develop and change and prosper.”
     That didn’t stop her, however, from taking a swipe at Apple. “Apple has showed no remorse, or made any public statement admitting wrongdoing,” Cote said. “They are, in a word, unrepentant” for conspiring in 2010 with five major book publishers to price-fix the cost of e-books and unseat Amazon from its position as the leader in the e-book industry.
     Apple has denied it did anything wrong, even though all the five book publishers – HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck Publishers and Penguin Random House – settled, leaving Apple alone to defend itself.
     Apple’s attorneys also objected to the schedule Cote laid out for the coming months, arguing that it needed time to go expert reports and other data and that it was only being given a matter months to do so.
     “It’s not fair,” Apple attorney Orin Snyder said. “I’m not asking for years. I’m asking for nine months.”
     But Cote said Apple has had ample time since the lawsuit was first brought in 2010 to strategize and analyze data.
     “We’re not starting this anew today,” she said. “It’s been ongoing since 2012.”
     The Justice Department issued proposals to the court last week seeking ways to halt Apple’s anticompetitive conduct and prevent it from happening again. Along with the suggestion that a monitor be brought in, it also suggested that Apple end its agreements with the book publishers and let other e-book publishers link to their own bookstores using Apple-based software.
     The proposed remedy by the Justice Department was signed by 33 state attorneys general.
     The five major book publishers weighed in Wednesday, arguing that barring Apple from the e-book industry would violate the agreements they made with the Justice Department when they settled.
     The Justice Department disagreed in a letter filed with the court on Thursday, adding that “Apple should not be rewarded with the same terms received by those who chose to settle to avoid the risks of litigation.”
     Cote set a hearing on class certification for Oct. 11, with opposition due Nov. 15 and a reply for Dec. 13.

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