Judge Calls DOJ's Proposed Restrictions on Apple's App Store Unnecessary

Apple in CourtJudge Denise Cote told lawyers representing Apple and the U.S. Department of Justice that proposed changes to Apple's App Store business practices are unnecessary. The comments were part of the remedy trial phase in the wake of Apple being convicted for colluding to raise ebook prices.

The DOJ has sought sweeping oversight and restrictions on Apple's business dealing with not only the publishers with whom Apple was convicted of colluding, but everything else in the App Store as well. This, despite the fact that Apple wasn't accused of antitrust violations outside of its iBooks operation, let alone convicted.

Judge Cote appears to see things similarly. According to Yahoo! Finance, she told attorneys, "The App store was only an incidental part of this trial." She also said, "I want this injunction to rest as lightly as possible on how Apple runs its business."

How that translates into the final remedy remains to be seen, but the judge asked the attorneys for both sides to make further revisions to their proposals before she decides on the final remedies next week.

Apple and the DOJ have been going back and forth, with the DOJ asking for the moon and Apple asking for little or no changes and less outside oversight.

It would appear—and we stress that word because you can never tell with a judge—that Judge Cote will find something in the middle between the two proposals. According to Yahoo! Finance, she said she was inclined to limit the authority of any outside monitoring, which is in keeping with her stated desire for her eventual injunction to "rest as lightly as possible" on Apple.

Apple is appealing its conviction, but one of the company's attorneys promised to hew closely to the judge's rulings if it loses.

Apple Attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. said, "We think the court's changes make a lot of sense. We're going to try to be a model citizen if this injunction remains in place."