App Store fees, restrictive rules affecting music services draws ire from critics
The terms and fees Apple imposes on other music streaming services using the App Store has come under attack from more sources. US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and advocacy group Consumer Watchdog have both written to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging them to investigate whether or not Apple is "engaging in anticompetitive behavior" with regards to Apple Music and its App Store policies.
Company complains that antitrust monitor overreaches, abuses position
Judges hearing two separate cases brought by Apple against (respectively) Judge Denise Cote's appointment of an unqualified personal friend as an antitrust monitor, and an appeal of the whole of Cote's ruling against the company in the Department of Justice e-book "price fixing" lawsuit appeared to find sympathetic ears in the Second US Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday. At least one judge said the court's monitor was grossly overpaid, while another panel appeared to agree with Apple's arguments with Judge Cote's ruling.
Claims Apple was taking on 'predatory pricing' by Amazon
At least one, and possibly two, of the three judges overseeing the appeal of the e-book antitrust verdict against Apple, have expressed strong doubt about the entire basis of the case against the iPhone maker - with Dennis Jacobs, was "openly hostile to the [US] government's case" on the first day of proceedings, says Agence France-Presse. Apple is accused of conspiring with book publishers to artificially inflate the costs of e-books, with a particular aim at undermining Amazon. Jacobs today argued, however that Apple was a "new entrant" into an established e-book world, "breaking the hold of a market by a monopolist who is maintaining its hold by what is arguably predatory pricing."
All Writs Act compels 'reasonable' unlock assistance, gives idea of future circumvention
In the face of increasing security measures on consumer devices, the US Department of Justice appears to be returning to old school tactics to get at data in devices. A judge in New York ordered an unnamed smartphone manufacturer to provide technical assistance in unlocking a device, something prosecutors argued under the All Writs Act of 1789. While the All Writs Act has been used in the past in technological situations, it could be the de facto means of law enforcement data requests in the future.
Court orders spyware creator to pay fine, hand over source code
A seller of mobile phone spyware has pleaded guilty to federal charges, the Department of Justice has revealed. Danish citizen Hammad Akbar has been fined $500,000 for the advertisement and sale of the StealthGenie app, which can be used to monitor the calls, texts, and other messaging systems with few in the way of signs to the target that they are being watched.
Cellular equipment on small planes allegedly used to track criminal locations via smartphone broadc
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has allegedly created fake cell towers to monitor the position of cellphones for surveillance purposes. A report claims the bogus towers, called "dirtboxes," were placed by the US Marshals Service (USMS) on planes, in order to trick smartphones owned by criminals into broadcasting their location, allowing authorities to track their movements.
Group invaded networks, stole more than $100 million worth of software
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement today in regard to a group of hackers charged with a string of computer breaches related to the theft of software from several large game companies. More than $100 million in software was stolen as a result of their activities, including a US Army helicopter training program developed by Zombie Studios, developer of America's Army: Special Forces.
New bill gives information same protection as material goods under law
In the shadow of Microsoft's dispute with the US Department of Justice, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Senate Judiciary Committee member Chris Coons (D-DE) have proposed legislation to codify law enforcement access to citizen's data stored internationally. The bill, titled the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, seeks to authorize the use of extraterritorial search warrants, but vacate said warrants if it requires parties involved to break the laws of a country to do so.
New ruling forces defiant Microsoft to hand over data held overseas
A stay giving Microsoft permission to deny a warrant ordering email release from a user whose data is stored in Ireland has been lifted by Judge Loretta Preska. As a result of the order, issued on August 29, Microsoft has until September 5 to coordinate with the US Department of Justice and inform the court how it will comply with the original court order, demanding Microsoft surrender the data. Microsoft promises to fight the order, and does not intend to hand over the data.
Promised lawsuit outlines complaints, promises made by Oracle over failed system
More than two months after Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber promised legal action against the company contracted to build the state's healthcare marketplace, the State of Oregon has sued Oracle. The Oregon Department of Justice filed a complaint last week with the Circuit Court for the State of Oregon, containing 14 claims for relief, including breach of contract, fraud and offenses under the Oregon Civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
US, UK believes that shutdown may only be temporary
The US Department of Justice and the FBI, alongside with law enforcement officials in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and the Ukraine, have announced that the "Gameover Zeus" botnet, responsible for the wide distribution of the Cryptolocker ransomware package, has been at least partially disabled. US officials have seized the botnet controllers in the Ukraine and other nations, giving control to law enforcement and releasing 300,000 from the clutches of the package, possibly only temporarily.
Judge ignores Apple argument that states have suffered no harm
For observers in Apple's battle against the US Department of Justice over alleged e-book "price fixing," it will come as no shock whatsoever that Judge Denise Cote has ruled against the company on a connected legal matter -- but the fact that she actually cited a reasoning based in law this time may surprise some. The US District Court judge has refuted Apple's filing for a dismissal in the lawsuits brought by 33 states and territories based on the DOJ case ruling.
Bribery by HP execs alleged in cases in Mexico, Russia, Poland
HP will dole out $108 million to settle claims by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging bribery and other crimes. The complaints centered around the company's business practices in Poland, Russia, and Mexico, alleging that HP paid out over $500,000 in exchange for assistance winning contracts to supply governments with computer hardware and services.
Second of three lawsuits Apple is facing over e-book pricing
Judge Denise Cote, the same jurist that notably pre-announced Apple's likely guilt when she oversaw the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple, has granted class-action status to various consumers and consumer groups that are also suing Apple and the various publishers over alleged price-fixing of e-book prices -- even though most prices under the "agency model" Apple used have in fact fallen. The iPhone maker lost the first suit, with Judge Cote ruling that Apple somehow "led" a price-fixing conspiracy among publishers in an effort to bust Amazon's near-monopoly of the e-book market.
Multi-state group to look at effect on broadband industry
Comcast and Time Warner Cable are facing more than just federal inspection of the merger between the pair. Reports are surfacing that Florida, Indiana, and other as-yet-unnamed states are looking at the transaction, in conjunction with the federal government effort by the US Department of Justice.
New Zealand appeals court ruling opens door to further extradition hearings
At the request of the US Department of Justice, a New Zealand court has ruled that the original Megaupload search warrant, executed on founder Kim Dotcom, was legal -- overturning a lower court's ruling holding it inadmissable. The previous ruling found the warrants vague, and that the poor construction of the warrant caused the seizure of materials seemingly irrelevant to the charges against the Internet mogul.
FISA requests detailed in agreement with US government
A group of tech companies have released more information about government requests from the NSA and other agencies for user information, as part of their transparency reporting programs. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all posted more statistics online for these Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, following an agreement between the companies and the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
Company aims for longer stay, monitor's eventual removal
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Apple an "administrative stay," temporarily relieving it of scrutiny by antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, Reuters reports. The stay is short-term only, and in fact Apple is pursuing a longer stay while it also seeks to suspend Bromwich entirely. A three-judge panel is due to hear a motion for the longer stay as soon as possible. The Department of Justice has until January 24 to file opposition; it didn't, however, oppose the administrative stay.
Likely to file emergency appeal to different judge
The same judge who appointed a personal friend with no experience in antitrust compliance, and who had pre-announced Apple's likely guilt ahead of its trial against the Department of Justice over alleged e-book price fixing, has denied the iPhone maker's request to stay the implementation of its antitrust monitor pending appeal. In her ruling, US District Judge Denise Cote also rebuffed Apple's request to disqualify Michael Bromwich, her appointment to the job.
Apple not working to 'change its corporate tone'
Apple has "chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance" with regard to court-appointed monitor Michael Bromwich, and is missing an opportunity to "change its corporate tone," the US Department of Justice complains in a new letter to the court handling the DoJ v. Apple e-book case. Bromwich was appointed by US District Judge Denise Cote last year to ensure that Apple followed imposed pricing and contract terms. Apple has accused Bromwich of immediately launching a roving investigation, despite having a narrower task set to start 90 days after his appointment; the company also objects to his $1,100-an-hour billing rate, and having to pay for a second lawyer hired by Bromwich due to his own inexperience with antitrust cases. Last week, Apple filed a formal request to remove him.
DOJ approval effectively leaves European regulators as last major acquisitions hurdle
The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services section by Microsoft has taken one more step towards completion. The US Department of Justice approval in a Federal trade Commission filing has effectively completed the deal's regulatory processes in the United States, effectively leaving just the European regulators standing in its way.
Compliance monitor returns fire in letter to board
Apple has filed a formal objection against the compliance monitor in the recent e-book price-fixing lawsuit, crying foul over the attorney's alleged $69,000 weekly fees. The company's legal team also claims the monitor, Michael Bromwich, has exceeded his authority by demanding interviews with board members and executives, such as design head Jony Ive and board member Al Gore, who are not involved in the business unit affected by the court decision.
Former DoJ Inspector General chosen for role
As expected, a New York judge has appointed an external monitor to ensure Apple's compliance with a recent antitrust injunction related to e-book price fixing. As noted by CNET, Judge Denise Cote has chosen former Assistant US Attorney and Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich to work directly with Apple for two years to watch for additional antitrust violations.
Third party will monitor compliance
(Updated with DoJ statement) Apple has been hit with a permanent injunction in the e-book price-fixing case pursued by the Department of Justice. As previously noted, the company will be restricted from signing agreements with five major book publishers that could artificially inflate or reduce e-book retail prices. A third party will be tasked with directly monitoring compliance for two years, while the final judgment will expire after five years.
Uses evidence from talks between Jobs, Schiller, Cue
The US Department of Justice has filed a revised settlement proposal for the outcome of its recent trial victory against Apple. The proposal is similar to the original, but incorporates an expanded section on in-app purchases, claiming that Apple formulated its rules to "retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disapproved of" and "make it more difficult for consumers using Apple devices to compare ebook prices among different retailers."
Would've given Apple time to appeal DoJ penalties
Judge Denise Cote has denied an Apple request to temporarily stay her ruling stemming from a trial over e-book price fixing, the Associated Press reports. Had the stay gone through, it would've given Apple time to appeal settlement terms proposed by the US Department of Justice. In July, Cote found that Apple had conspired with five major book publishers -- Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster -- to artificially inflate e-book prices and undermine Amazon, which in 2009 was selling Kindle titles at a standard price of just $10.
Sign of companies operating too closely in unison, DoJ suggests
The US Department of Justice has filed a response to the book publishing industry's defense of Apple in light of possible settlement terms that could impose strict restrictions on Apple, and which the publishers suggest might alter the terms of their own settlements over allegations of fixing e-book prices. DoJ attorney Lawrence Buterman contends that the unified defense shows that the publishers have "banded together once again," as they did when conspiring to inflate prices and undermine Amazon. The publishers' motion "only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount ebooks and compete on retail price for as long as possible," the filing reads.
ITC decision, hearings on Samsung and DOJ e-book case
Tomorrow will mark a busy and important day on several legal fronts for Apple, as it awaits a much-watched International Trade Commission decision on its complaint against Samsung. In addition, two separate but important federal court hearings will be held on Friday; one related to another Apple-Samsung matter stemming from the first trial, and another where Apple will get to argue the deficiencies of the Department of Justice's proposed settlement over the e-book price-fixing case. Apple plans to appeal the DOJ verdict.
Hearing on penalties to be assessed on August 9
Five of the publishers originally involved in the e-book price fixing case with Apple have filed a motion in Judge Denise Cote's court, opposing the proposed penalties that the Department of Justice wants asserted against Apple. The five publishers claim that the Department of Justice's demand will "improperly impose additional, unwarranted restrictions on the settling defendants, thereby depriving each publisher of the benefit of its bargain with plaintiffs." The penalty proposal by the Department of Justice and all filed motions will be heard on Friday, August 9.
Claims terms would 'establish a vague new compliance regime'
Apple has lashed out at the Department of Justice's proposed terms for settling the case the latter brought over e-book price fixing. In court documents, Apple calls the terms a "draconian and punitive intrusion" into its business, with penalties "wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."
Would undo one of the stricter App Store rules
The Department of Justice has published proposed settlement terms that could force Apple to allow apps to link to outside e-book stores. Last month, the DoJ emerged victorious against Apple in a trial over e-book price fixing. Apple was accused of conspiring with publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices, in particular with the aim of undermining Amazon's once-standard $10 pricetag for Kindle titles. Modern, high-profile e-books are usually priced closer to $13 or $14.
Agrees to pay $56.5M in fines, jail time for executives
Panasonic has agreed to pay $56.5 million in fines for its part in price fixing conspiracies. The US Department of Justice announced that the Japanese electronics manufacturer will plead guilty for helping fix the prices of automotive parts and battery cells, which inflated the production cost of notebooks and cars for various manufacturers.
Decision could impact Amazon, iBookstore, future of e-book prices
Apple indeed violated antitrust laws, conspiring with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, US District Judge Denise Cote has ruled in a Manhattan court. The company is said to have colluded with Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster in order to undermine Amazon, which until the launch of Apple's iBookstore was able to sell e-books for a standard $10. Cote notes that the publishers' switch to an agency model, prompted by talks with Apple, forced a number of e-books to climb in price to $13 or $15.
Amazon becomes as much a focus as tactics used by Apple
While nobody knows how Judge Denice Cote will rule in the two-week e-book price-fixing trial brought against Apple by the US Department of Justice, everyone who has been keeping tabs on the trial as it unfolded knows one thing: Judge Cote has been given more to consider after hearing Apple's vigorous defense of its actions and the performance of witnesses in the trial -- from both sides of the case. The same judge who had offered a pre-trial opinion that the DOJ would likely prove conspiracies said it all at the close: "things change."
Testimony from Cue, Barnes & Noble exec change tone of trial
After having begun the case against Apple brought by the Department of Justice with a set of blistering opinions that essentially concluded the iPhone maker was guilty of the e-book price-fixing charge against it, Judge Denise Cote has been seen to change her position considerably over the course of the trial. On Thursday, as part of the winding down of the witness portion of the trial, she noted that she had "learned a lot" from the evidence after having felt "very prepared" ahead of the trial, and that the "issues have shifted" since the trial began.
Was concerned about how self-publishing, aggregators would be handled
According to a an email exchange between then-CEO Steve Jobs and Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue submitted in court earlier today as part of the Department of Justice's e-book price-fixing trial, Apple's co-founder and then-leader read Mac rumor-and-news sites such as AppleInsider and would question the veracity of items found there. In the exchange, which happened just three months after Apple had launched the iBookstore, Jobs wants to know more about self-publishing options.
Little new during executive's final court date
Under questioning at the ongoing DoJ v. Apple antitrust trial, the man who negotiated Apple's iBookstore deals with publishers -- Eddy Cue -- today disclosed some minor facts about Steve Jobs' involvement with the iBooks app. The topic came up during examination by Apple attorney Orin Snyder. Earlier in the trial, Cue established that Jobs was heavily into the concept of iBooks and the iBookstore once iPad development started ramping up. During today's testimony, Cue revealed that Jobs had micromanaged some of the smallest details of iBooks.
Witnesses to include current iTunes, iBookstore heads
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple is entering its final four days this week, according to Fortune. The original orchestrator of Apple's publisher deals for the iBookstore, Eddy Cue, is resuming court testimony today, having last testified on Thursday afternoon. Today's topics are expected to include a dinner Cue had with Macmillan's CEO, and disputed emails written to Cue by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Blames publishers' resentment towards Amazon prices
Apple's senior VP for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, testified today in defense of the company at the Department of Justice's ongoing antitrust trial over e-book prices. Cue was responsible for negotiating publisher deals to help launch the iBookstore in 2010. Apple is accused, however, of colluding with publishers to switch the e-book industry to an agency model, specifically with the aim of forcing prices higher and undermining Amazon's then-standard $10 pricetag.
Jobs' tone, content of mail differ entirely than DoJ draft email
In the e-book price fixing case between the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Apple, the Cupertino manufacturer has submitted the actual sent email from then-CEO Steve Jobs to Eddy Cue, which has both a different tone and substantially different content to the hostile "draft" email (never sent) that the DoJ raised as evidence of an intent to force Amazon to accept higher prices by colluding with the book publishers earlier in the case.
Suggests Apple was aiming at forcing Amazon to accept higher prices
As a result of an email written by former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple may have suffered a significant blow at the e-book antitrust trial being pursued by the Department of Justice. Fortune reports that the head of Apple's iBookstore, Keith Moerer, testified yesterday that Apple had never asked or pressured any book publisher into changing contracts with Amazon from a wholesale model to Apple's preferred agency model, in which publishers can dictate higher prices. Apple was "indifferent" to what model publishers used with Amazon, Moerer claimed.
Collusion claims cast into doubt
The Department of Justice suffered an early blow in its antitrust case against Apple yesterday, reports say. Testifying in court was Google's director of strategic partnerships, Thomas Turvey. In previous written testimony, Turvey had claimed that representatives from book publishers told him in 2010 that they were switching to an agency model because Apple required it in its iBookstore contracts. Under cross-examination by Apple lawyer Orin Snyder however, it emerged that the written testimony was drafted with the help of Turvey's lawyers, and he was unsure who wrote the central allegations.
Revelation raises issues of equal treatment, conflict of interest
Under cross-examination from Apple's lawyers, a key government witness -- Amazon Vice President for Kindle Content Russell Grandinetti -- undermined a key element of the Department of Justice's case against the Cupertino giant by admitting that once it decided to move to the "agency model" under pressure from publishers, it demanded exactly the same terms from the publishers as Apple had required. The deal even included a 30 percent cut and a "most favored nation" (MFN) clause that is the crux of the DOJ's complaint against Apple.
Despite continued success, Amazon exec claims agency model hurt
On the third day of the e-book trial brought by the Department of Justice against Apple, the judge heard from an Amazon executive who claimed that Apple's proposal of a shift to the "agency model" of e-book pricing (where publishers set the price rather than retailers) was intended to hurt sales of Amazon's Kindle e-reader and its success as a seller of e-books. Judge Denice Cote, who is conducting the bench trial, also heard from Apple lawyers that the length of negotiations and differences in the contracts it had with publishers prove that it did not collude to set prices.
Shanks: Apple's entry benefited industry, Penguin did not collude
Testimony on the second day of Apple's trial as a defendent against the US Department of Justice on allegations of conspiracy to raise book prices appears to have gone reasonably well for the Cupertino-based electronics giant, with some mixed but friendly testimony from Penguin Group USA CEO David Shanks. Though he admitted that it was "irrational enthusiasm" for the potential 80-100 million strong customer base Apple had at the time that led Penguin to accede to many of Apple's terms during negotiations over its contract, he also defended some aspects of Apple's role.
Claims government trying to 'reverse engineer a conspiracy'
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple over e-book pricing is "bizarre," said Apple lawyer Orin Snyder yesterday during the case's opening arguments. Snyder went on to call the allegations "sinister interference" based on nebulous evidence, and complain about pre-trial comments by Judge Denise Cote inferring that the DoJ was likely to win.
Opening statements center on negotiations by Eddy Cue, not Jobs
The opening statements by the Department of Justice and Apple at the start of the trial between the two over e-book pricing have been given, with the DOJ claiming that Apple facilitated agreements with the big four publishers (five at the time; Hatchette and Penguin later merged) to present a unified front that demanded the "agency model" of pricing (where publishers set the e-book prices) in order to break Amazon of its predatory pricing habit of pricing e-books below its own cost -- which was having a deleterious effect on both e-book competitors and physical book sales.
Unusual admission of prejudice ahead of DOJ trial
In an unusual pre-trial "tentative view," the judge in charge of the Apple versus the Department of Justice trial over alleged e-book price-fixing said that the DOJ would likely be able to prove that Apple colluded with publishers to raise e-book prices, despite not having seen all available evidence. This is not the first time Judge Denise Cote has ruled against Apple ahead of a full examination of the facts.
US DOJ allows 30-day antitrust waiting period to expire unhindered
The merger between T-Mobile and MetroPCS has been given the go-ahead to proceed by the United States Department of Justice. A 30-day waiting period, put in place by antitrust laws, has expired without the DoJ offering any objections to the merger, which would see the combined Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier and MetroPCS further embed T-Mobile's position as the fourth largest US carrier.
Government still pursuing Apple over alleged fixing of e-book prices
As part of its case against Apple for allegedly conspiring to "falsely inflate" e-book prices, the US Department of Justice has opted not to pursue its plan to demand copies of the notes from Steve Jobs' biographer or testimony from Walter Isaacson himself regarding any remarks Jobs may have made about the arrangements Apple made with publishers in its effort to both set up its own e-book service and fight against the predatory pricing of Amazon, which had a near-monopoly on e-books and was driving rivals out of business.