DOJ Wants to Finesse a Takeover of Apple

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Holder Putin

Photo of Eric Holder looking a look like Vladimir Putin, though Putin is more freedom-loving obviously.

Will we soon be calling iTunes – g-Tunes, the Apple app store – gApp, or maybe the iMac will become the gMac, the ‘g’ standing for ‘government?’

Under the guise of dealing with a price-fixing scheme, Holder’s DOJ is attempting to what essentially amounts to a takeover of Apple. If they win, we might as well call ourselves Russia.

The government is seizing an opportunity to control a private company worth billions of dollars at an opportune time – when the company won’t have public support.

Make no mistake, the government’s actions in the case of Apple is about government control over private enterprise and has little to do with protecting consumers.

The DOJ won an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple last month. The federal judge in the case ruled that Apple conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books.

Apple denied that they plotted with five book publishers to charge customers higher prices for digital material. In other words, customers paid more for e-books than for Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Apple allegedly allowed publishers to set the prices who then raised them by 50%.

The publishers pled guilty and paid a $166 million dollar fine. Apple took it to court instead of settling. They said they allowed the publishers the freedom to set prices because they had to find more favorable agreements since they entered the e-book market late. I’m not excusing what they did or did not do. This isn’t the story.

The story is what the government wants to do to Apple.

The government wants the judge to force Apple to terminate contracts it holds with five major book publishers, be barred from entering contracts that control e-book prices, and be forced to allow iPhone or iPad users to directly buy books from other retailers with their devices.

That’s not the story either.

Apple would be mandated to house a court-appointed – government – monitor who would micromanage the company and regulate them for at least 10 years. Holder’s Justice Department wants the judge to give the feds oversight of iTunes and the App Store.

That’s the story!

Apple called the proposals by the government ‘draconian’ and a ‘punitive intrusion into Apple’s business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm.’

That’s an understatement. What the DOJ wants is to control a private company that is doing great things for our economy and the question is why?

Steve Jobs was a liberal as are most at the helm of Apple, but the company does not give donations to the government or to candidates as do the other companies. Perhaps this absurdly harsh punishment and attempted takeover has something to do with their unwillingness to pay off the government in a crony socialist kind of way.

It could be the case that the government thinks it can run Apple better than Apple can run Apple. Our government believes they need to have control over just about everything.

Apple has vowed to appeal. I certainly hope they win. This would be a disastrous precedent-setting overreach by government.

Read more at tech.fortune.cnn.com

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