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Apple may have to alter its blanket policy prohibiting companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble from offering outbound links to their own e-book stores and material. The Department of Justice exposed today that a possible resolution to the Apple e-book rate fixing case might see Apple be forced to end its existing arrangements with the 5 publishers it’s accused of conspiring with also, and not take part in new e-book circulation agreements for five years with those publishers that’d ‘restrain Apple from contending on rate.’
Apple would also be forbidden from entering into contracts with suppliers of e-books, motion pictures, TELEVISION shows or other components that’d make it most likely that prices would increase at its rivals, but the real change today for consumers would originate from the requirement that Apple allow its rivals to offer links to their e-bookstores from their own iOS e-book reader applications, removing the need for workarounds like Amazon’s recent free sample links update to its Kindle app, or the iPad-optimized online store.
Part of the arrangement would also involve selecting an official external monitor to keep tabs on Apple’s compliance with the proposed option, to make sure that they are not participating in any anti-competitive task. That individual would be paid by Apple, and deal with an internal compliance policeman also employed by Apple.
Ultimately, this is great information for iOS users, because it means Kindle and various other apps will once again be allowed to connect directly to their online shops for simple acquisition of e-book material. And it’s excellent information for operators of those shops, since it’s impossible to envision them not seeing more sell-through and greater conversions once the links are back in place.
Apple first forced Kindle and other apps to abide by new regulations around in-app subscriptions or digital books purchases back in July of 2011. The move seems to have actually been prompted by Apple desiring a cut of all sales of digital items made through apps on its platforms, by requiring adoption of in-app purchases, of which Apple gets a 30 percent cut. Evaluating by how this deal is forming up, if it undergoes buyers on various other e-book platforms will still have to go with external sites to purchase, as opposed to getting access to in-app investments, but publishers will a minimum of have the option to connect them out instead of needing to shell out the 30 percent commission.