The e-books antitrust suit finally lands: The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Apple and five book publishers, alleging that they conspired through a pricing agreement to limit discounts on e-books. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the pricing agreement between Apple and the publishers was struck before the introduction of the iPad, in 2010, when e-books available through Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) were priced as low as $9.99. On Wednesday, the DOJ also announced that three publishers named in the suit — Hachette Book Group, News Corp.’s HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWS), and CBS-owned Simon & Schuster (NYSE:CBS) – agreed to a proposed settlement that would require them to terminate and renegotiate pricing agreements with Apple, terminate contracts with retailers that restrict competitive pricing, notify the DOJ of e-book ventures with other publishers, and designate an antitrust compliance officer to oversee e-book agreements for the next five years. The DOJ says in its suit that the publishers shifted from a wholesale pricing model, which would allow retailers to set prices competitively, to an agency model in which the publishers set retail prices that included little or no room for discounts. Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan decided against accepting the settlement terms.
The FAA gets iPad-friendly: The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to “broadly expand” the use of iPads beyond the 1,100 FAA employees currently using the tablet to store and display reference material and for administrative purposes. A report on aviation website AVweb explains that the agency also plans to establish an app store featuring FAA-related programs and eventually will allow some employees to replace laptops with iPads. While the FAA found the benefits of using the tablets were limited for some purposes, the devices also proved to be cost-effective and efficient for many tasks. The agency’s IT department also says it will soon allow some employees to access the FAA computer network using their iPads
Retooling iTunes for iOS6: Apple is constantly revising software products to increase usability and enable seamless integration with its operating system. One of the projects currently underway, notes 9to5 Mac, is a new release of iTunes — iTunes 11 — that will support iOS 6, the next major iteration of Apple’s operating system for computers, and closely integrate Apple’s iCloud storage and cloud computing service. Another set of modifications, for the iTunes Store and App Store, likely will include integration of the app-search tool Chomp, which Apple acquired earlier this year. Those improvements are expected to go live in the summer or fall, 9to5 Mac says.