Further update: An interesting snippit to come out of the trial is that Apple doubled its iBooks business in 2012, yet its market-share remained unchanged at 20 percent. This means the rest of the market (predominantly Amazon, of course) also doubled its ebook sales last year. eBooks have clearly re-popularised reading.
Update: Apple has now entered into evidence the email that was sent, and that one talks only about the pricing Apple wants, making no mention of moving Amazon to the agent model. The DOJ may still try to argue that the draft shows intent, but as Apple’s legal team has argued, it’s unfair to draw conclusions of the intent of someone unable to put his side of the story.
Just when Apple seemed to be getting the upper hand in the ebooks trial, the DOJ produced a second email from Steve Jobs which casts doubt on Apple’s claims that it was “indifferent” to the pricing models adopted by competitors such as Amazon, reports Fortune.
The DOJ case against Apple is predicated on the claim that Apple put pressure on publishers to sell to Amazon on the same terms as Apple, the so-called ‘agency model’ in which publishers set the price of each book and retailers take a percentage, instead of the wholesale model, where retailers buy in bulk and set their own prices.
Apple has denied this, stating that while it wanted the agency model for its own store, it was “indifferent” – a word it has used on the stand twice – to the arrangements publishers had with other retailers. The DOJ has now entered into evidence Exhibit 55, an email from Steve Jobs to Eddy Cue which appears to directly contradict this claim …
“I can live with this,” Jobs wrote on Jan. 14, 2010, less than two weeks before the iPad was unveiled, “as long as they move Amazon to the agent model too for new releases for the first year. If not, I’m not sure we can be competitive…”
Apple claims the email was never sent, but Keith Moerer, head of Apple’s iBookstore, was forced to agree that the email was not consistent with its claimed indifference. The DOJ had already presented a previous email from Steve Jobs, suggesting that adopting the agency model would result in higher prices.
Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99.
Eddy Cue is due to take the stand tomorrow.