anti-trust Stories August 8, 2014

A judge has rejected a settlement that was reached earlier this year between employees of Apple, Intel, Google, and Adobe and their respective companies, CNBC reported today. According to reports from the courtroom, Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the settlement was not high enough and should actually be $380 million.

The lawsuit was brought against the tech giants in question by current and former employees who believed (correctly) that their employers had created agreements to avoid attempting to hire engineers from one another. The idea was that if no competitors were making offers, each company was free to pay its employees whatever it wanted without having to worry about them jumping ship for a better offer.

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anti-trust Stories May 21, 2014

Italian authorities give Apple & others 20 days to submit defence to “unfair” in-app purchase claims

An Italian competition organization has given Apple, Google, Amazon and Gameloft twenty days to submit a defence to its investigation into in-app purchases or face a fine of up to €5M ($6.9M), reports ZDNet.

The companies now have 20 days to comply with the requests for information that came with the letter, and to respond with their defences to the allegations. If the alleged violations proved to be true, the three internet giants and the European game developer could each face a fine up to €5m — although the Italian watchdog told ZDNet that the punishment would be proportional to each company’s size.

The complaint is based on two concerns. First, whether consumers are clear about the likely total cost of the app at the time they download it. Second, whether sufficient information is provided about how to prevent or limit in-app purchases, especially in games played by children.

Apple settled a similar complaint with the FTC in January, after last year offering refunds to parents whose children had made in-app purchases. At that time, Tim Cook pointed to the safeguards in place, which include the ability to disable in-app purchases with a single switch, and requiring a password for any purchases made more than 15 minutes after downloading the app.

iOS also now alerts customers that further purchases can be made within 15 minutes without re-entering their iTunes password, and all iTunes apps that offer in-app purchases are labelled as such in the App Store.

anti-trust Stories January 13, 2014

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. expand full story

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anti-trust Stories January 8, 2014

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 …  expand full story

anti-trust Stories March 22, 2013

Apple may face an anti-trust investigation in Europe over its iPhone contracts with carriers as it defends itself against separate investigations for alleged price gouging in Australia.

Apple was informed last year that it would be required to attend a hearing by Australia’s Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications to explain why its pricing of digital content was higher in Australia than in the United States. The hearing is now underway, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, with Apple asked to explain why content sold through iTunes is marked up between 30 and 70 percent higher than in the U.S. Apple is blaming wholesale pricing agreements in the country.

“The pricing of this digital content is based on the wholesale prices which are set through negotiated contracts with the record labels, movie studios and TV networks,” said Mr King, who is Apple’s vice president for Australia, New Zealand and South Asia.

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anti-trust Stories January 18, 2013

Tim-Cook-apologyApple CEO Tim Cook has been ordered by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose to give a deposition related to an ongoing private lawsuit that claims Apple, Google, and others entered “no-poach” agreements, as reported by Bloomberg. Cook isn’t the only executive named in yesterday’s order. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will also be deposed on Feb. 20, as well as Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini later this month.

Koh told lawyers yesterday that Apple founder Steve Jobs was copied on e-mails at issue in the case, and that she found it “hard to believe” that Cook, as Apple’s chief operating officer at the time in question, wouldn’t have been consulted about such agreements.

The judge said she was disappointed that senior executives at the companies involved hadn’t been deposed before yesterday’s hearing over whether she should certify the case as a group lawsuit. The class would include different categories of employees whose incomes, their lawyers argue, were artificially reduced because of the collusion. Koh didn’t rule on class certification. expand full story

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