The Washington Post

The Circuit: Apple says Justice’s claims aren’t true; landlines; Google’s stock split

Apple refutes Justice claims: Apple is denying charges made by the Department of Justice that it colluded with publishers to fix the prices of e-books.

In a statement, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said, “The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.”

According to a report from Reuters, Apple, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette and MacMillan parent company Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck have all sent proposals to the European Union trying to resolve an anti-trust probe in Europe.

Joaquin Alumnia, the E.U.’s competition chief, told Reuters that it is in “fruitful discussions” with the companies and that its suggestions will need to be assessed by third parties. He said an investigation into Penguin, which is also named in the E.U. probe, is ongoing.

Landlines: Four states have passed laws that release telephone companies from the obligation of providing low-cost fixed-line telephone service to homes, The Washington Post reported, a move critics say will leave Americans with less reliable or more expensive options. Several other state governments, facing vigorous lobbying by phone companies, are considering similar measures.

The question, critics say, is whether the effort will leave behind rural residents and the elderly. They also worry whether the nation’s broadband networks could handle a massive emergency such as a terrorist attack.

Google’s un­or­tho­dox stock split: Google announced that it would authorize a 2-for-1 stock split, which the company said would “preserve the corporate structure that has allowed Google to remain focused on the long term.” All current Google stockholders will receive one new share of the new, non-voting stock, giving investors twice the number of shares they had before.

Critics of the plan said that the move continues to put too much control in the hands of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as Google chairman Eric Schmidt. As Bloomberg reported, investors who have been clamoring for a dividend were not happy with the move, with some saying they would have preferred a cash dividend.

Patent suits:A report from The Wall Street Journal, outlined the latest in the complicated patent suits dogging the technology industry right now, analyzing Apple’s strategy on using its patents on the “slide-to-lock” feature against rivals.

The suits, only two of dozens taking place around the world, have been pointed to as examples of what is wrong with current U.S. patent law.

"When you have companies spending hundreds of millions in litigation, something is seriously wrong with our patent system," Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers School of Law told the newspaper. “You've got to wonder whether it's doing more harm than good.”

iCloud in Germany: A German court in Mannheim will keep Apple from offering its iCloud service in Germany. The patent ruling found in favor of Motorola Mobility, banning Apple’s service, which pushes synchronized e-mails to users devices, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The court said Apple has to pay damages to Motorola Mobility, the report said, but did not specify the amount.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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