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Feds, states press Apple on e-books

The Justice Department and 33 state attorneys general on Friday said they want to prevent Apple from entering into contracts with sellers of e-books, movies, music and other digital content that are likely to raise prices.

The demand comes out of an antitrust suit against Apple Inc. and five e-book publishers. A federal judge ruled last month that Apple had colluded with the publishers to raise e-book prices.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has denied wrongdoing and has said it will appeal the decision.

On Friday, it called the remedy proposal “a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business.” The inclusion of digital media other than books in the proposal doesn’t bear any relation to the findings in the case, Apple said.

The book publishers previously settled the price-fixing charges. They are Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group. The settlements were designed to encourage price competition and discounting, but that hasn’t happened.

Chinese court rules J&J guilty of monopoly

Health care giant Johnson & Johnson has become the latest global company accused of misconduct in China after a court ordered it to pay damages to a distributor in a lawsuit brought under an anti-monopoly law.

The ruling by a Shanghai court expands use of the vaguely worded, 5-year-old anti-monopoly law and raises the possibility of action against other foreign companies. It comes amid Chinese investigations of possible bribery, price-fixing and other misconduct by global suppliers of milk, pharmaceuticals and other products.

Johnson & Johnson was found guilty of “vertical monopoly” for setting minimum prices its distributors could charge for surgical sutures, according to Thursday’s ruling. The court said that caused the Chinese distributor to lose potential sales and awarded $85,000 for lost profits.

A phone message left for Johnson & Johnson’s spokesman in China was not returned.

Eaton profit rises, but outlook darkens

Diversified manufacturer Eaton Corp. said Friday that its second-quarter net income jumped 29 percent, boosted by contributions from its acquisition of Cooper Industries.

The results fell slightly short of Wall Street predictions and the company lowered the top-end of its previous full-year profit guidance, warning that it now expects its markets to grow less than previously expected.

The Dublin, Ireland-based company earned $494 million, or $1.04 per share, for the April-June period, up from $382 million, or $1.13 per share, in the same quarter of 2012.

Dell delays vote on takeover plan

Dell Inc. delayed Friday’s vote on founder Michael Dell’s plan to take the computer maker private. The postponement came after Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners added a special dividend of 13 cents per share on top of an already sweetened bid of $24.6 billion, or $13.75 per share. They originally had offered $24.4 billion, or $13.65 per share.

The company is now giving shareholders until Sept. 12 to consider the offer.

The meeting will be at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, near Austin.