Apple acquired BookLamp startup for $10-15 million earlier this year (Update: confirmed)

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Apple acquired a company called BookLamp earlier this year for somewhere between $10-15 million, according to information uncovered by TechCrunch.

The Idaho-based startup created what was referred to as “Pandora for books,” including a system known as the Book Genome Project that could recommend books based on analysis of the text and previous ratings of other books by users (very similar to Pandora’s Music Genome Project, which does the same thing for musical analysis).

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Apple settles out of jury trial in $840 million e-books pricing suit

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Apple settled out of court in the latest e-books price-fixing suit brought against the company, allowing the company to dodge an $840 million bullet, as reported by Bloomberg. The case, brought against the Cupertino company by multiple states and consumers, was set to go before a jury next month, but that will no longer be necessary.

The terms of the settlement have not yet been revealed, and the opposing sides of the case have one month to request formal acceptable of their agreement by the court.

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Coming in iOS 8: WiFi calling, Tips app, FaceTime call waiting, iBooks preinstalled, much more

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There’s a lot of new features coming in iOS 8 that you might have missed during Apple’s presentation today. Apple briefly flashed the slide pictured above and in it listed a bunch of new features that it didn’t talk about in length or at all during its keynote. Some of them include a “Tips app”, panorama on iPad, WiFi calling, FaceTime call waiting, rich text editing in Notes, iBooks preinstalled, and accessibility improvements like multi-device support for MFi hearing aids and the ability to exit Guided Access mode using TouchID. Read more

New tax law could see UK iTunes customers paying up to 20% more next year

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Members of the UK government are seeking to close a tax loophole that currently allows online music, app, and book downloads to avoid the country’s 20% “value added tax” in favor of much lower international tax rates, reports The Guardian. If the push is successful, iTunes customers in the UK will instead be taxed at the appropriate rate for their own country.

However, the new law won’t go into effect until January 1, 2015, so there’s still time for things to change. Supporters of the change say that it will lead to more fair competition among foreign and domestic companies, since UK-based companies are currently at a major disadvantage due to the higher tax rate.

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Apple’s request to remove court-appointed ebooks antitrust monitor rejected

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A motion by Apple to halt the operations of a court-appointed antitrust monitor has been rejected, the Wall Street Journal reports. The lawyer, Michael Bromwich, was appointed by the court to ensure the compliance Apple’s iBook platform with antitrust laws. Apple previously petitioned the court to have Bromwich removed from his post, believing that his $1,100/hour legal fees were leading him to take undue investigative steps solely for the purpose of overcharging the Cupertino company.

Bromwich was temporarily taken off of Apple’s case, but subsequently returned to continue his duties. Apple then accused Bromwich of going beyond his legal authority and requested once again that he be removed from the company’s case. Today the court ruled that Apple’s request would have resulted in Bromwich being unable to execute his legal duties, and thus rejected the injunction.

The full ruling is embedded below:

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Apple granted temporary relief from external monitor in ebooks antitrust dispute

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In what is quickly becoming the next big ongoing back and forth between Apple and [insert third party here] of 2014, a new development has unfolded in the antitrust dispute over Apple’s iBooks practices. Michael Bromwich, the external monitor assigned to ensure Apple complies to antitrust laws relating to its iBooks program, has been temporarily removed, Reuters reports, following an “administrative stay” granted to Apple following a recent complaint filed by the Cupertino tech company against the attorney.

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Apple’s iBooks Textbooks & iTunes U Course Manager hit new markets in Asia, Latin America, Europe

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Update: Apple says iBooks Textbooks are available in all countries with a paid iBooks store and that a full updated list of countries with access to iTunes U Course Manager can be found on its enrollment website.

Apple just put out a press release announcing that it’s expanding availability of its educational content– iBooks Textbooks and the iTunes U Course Manager– into new international markets. Starting today, both of the services are rolling out to new countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, bringing the total number of countries with textbooks up to 51 and the total number with access to the iTunes U Course Manager to 70. Apple also shared some stats on the growth of iBooks Textbooks, which now cover 100 percent of the US high school core curriculum: Read more

DOJ responds to Apple’s request to replace attorney in ebooks case (Update: Court denies Apple’s request, too)

Following Apple’s formal request last week that Michael Bromwich be removed from his role in ensuring the Cupertino company meets compliances set by the anti-trust ruling in last year’s ebooks trial, the Department of Justice has pushed back (via GigaOm) with a denial letter accusing Apple of ‘character assassination’.

Regrettably, it is now clear that Apple has chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance. Apple could have been spending the past months working with the External Compliance Monitor with the ultimate goal of reforming its policies and training, and in the process change its corporate tone to one that reflects a commitment to abiding by the requirements of the antitrust laws. Instead, Apple has focused on personally attacking Mr. Bromwich, and thwarting him from performing even the most basic of his court-ordered functions. Read more

Apple asks court to remove ebooks compliance monitor from his post

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After earlier complaining that the company was being overcharged by the court-appointed lawyer overseeing its compliance with the terms of the ebooks anti-trust ruling, Apple has now brought matters to a head by asking for Michael Bromwich to be removed from the role, reports Reuters.

An attorney for the consumer technology giant on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan to disqualify Michael Bromwich from serving as an external compliance monitor, arguing he had shown a personal bias against the company.

In a letter to Cote, Apple’s lawyer cited a “wholly inappropriate declaration” filed by Bromwich last month …  Read more

Apple enables iBook gifting on iOS and OS X ahead of the holidays

After recently overhauling its iBooks apps for iOS 7, Apple has enabled the ability to purchase iBooks for others through its gifting system as Macworld first noted.

Previously, you could purchase credit for the iBooks Store for someone else, but you could not purchase a specific book intended for someone else’s account. Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem has allowed e-book gifting for a few years now, but the feature’s absence remained a point of confusion for many iBook customers before today… Read more

Mavericks How-to: Use iBooks for organizing, reading, and shopping

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iBooks was introduced in 2010 for the iPad. With Mavericks, 3.5 years after iBooks came out for iOS, Mac OS X finally gets in on the action. Unlike iOS devices that have to download iBooks from the App Store, the Mac comes pre-loaded with it. This how-to will discuss how to organize and read your books, and how to shop for new books in the iBooks Store.

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Apple releases iBooks for Mac 1.0.1 with bug fixes and stabilty improvements

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As we reported earlier this week, Apple has been preparing updates for Mail, iBooks, and other built-in apps on OS X Mavericks to address several issues noticed by users after the operating system’s launch. Earlier today the company released a fix for Gmail-related problems in Mail. Now they have also released an update for iBooks that addresses performance and stability problems as well as other miscellaneous bugs.

The update is only 14 MB and is available for free in the Software Update tab of the Mac App Store.

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