Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook ruling begins today

ebook-trial

Apple is having a busy time in court at the moment. Not only is it defending the iPod DRM class action, but is this morning beginning its appeal of the verdict of last year’s ebook trial.

The court ruled that Apple was guilty of anti-competitive practices in two ways. First, the company asked publishers to switch from wholesale pricing – where publishers sold in bulk to retailers, who set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set retail prices and retailers took a commission. The court ruled that this reduced price competition …  Read more

Caltech and NYU economists call for Apple ebooks trial verdict to be overturned

ebooks

Apple’s prospects of a successful appeal against the ruling in the ebooks trial may be improved by a brief filed by two economists from Caltech and NYU who suggest that the ruling was in error and call for it to be reversed.

Apple was found guilty of anti-competitive practices on two grounds. First, it asked publishers to switch from a wholesale pricing model – where publishers sold books in bulk and retailers set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set prices and retailers took a percentage cut. This, the court found, reduced price competition …  Read more

Using Steve Jobs email as evidence, DOJ says Apple changed in-app purchase policy to retaliate against Amazon

Steve-Jobs-Email-ebook-Amazon

As first spotted by GigaOm, the US Department of Justice has submitted a revised remedy proposal in the ongoing ebook case that previously found Apple guilty of conspiring with publishers to control ebook pricing. While much of the proposal remains the same as the proposal it first submitted at the beginning of this month, the report points out that the DOJ has added more information and a Steve Jobs email as an exhibit showing that Apple changed its in-app purchasing policies specifically “to retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disapproved of.”

While referencing the email above in which Steve Jobs and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller discuss forcing Amazon to go through Apple’s payment system, the DOJ claims Apple “misrepresented the factual circumstances” since it allows other retailers to bypass its 30% cut: Read more

DOJ says publishers once again colluding as Apple faces ITC/patent cases today

This afternoon, Apple and the DOJ will be in court to decide the fate of the agency model implementation in the iBookstore. The court has already ruled that Apple has been working with publishers to price-fix and raise the prices of ebooks, but now a punishment must be determined.

This morning, the DOJ responded to publishers’ concerns about the remedies and claimed that, since they are even responding together, they have shown once again how they are banded together (PDF of full response – via GigaOM):

Indeed, the very fact that the Publisher Defendants have banded together once again, this time to jointly oppose two provisions in the Proposed Final Judgment that they believe could result in lower ebook prices for consumers, only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount ebooks and compete on retail price for as long as possible.

Read more

DOJ proposes settlement in Apple ebook price fixing case: end current agreements, link to other stores

steve-jobs-ibooks

After reaching settlements with just about every publisher involved in the long-running Apple/Amazon e-book price fixing case, The United States Department of Justice today published its proposal to end the case with Apple after finding the company guilty of conspiring to fix ebook prices during trial earlier this month:

“The court found that Apple’s illegal conduct deprived consumers of the benefits of e-book price competition and forced them to pay substantially higher prices,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Under the department’s proposed order, Apple’s illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future.”

Among the key points in the proposal: Read more

9to5Toys Last Call: $59 Logitech UE Mini Boombox Bluetooth speaker, $15 Apple Leather Smart Cover (open-box), Father’s Day Gifts, more

From 9to5Toys.com:

A large majority of the deals we cover each day come from a variety of ‘Daily Deal’ websites or are so popular that they don’t even last 24 hours.  We know you can’t be at your computer every second, so we’re going to roundup the best deals each day to make sure you have a fair shot at the deals you want. Be sure to follow 9to5Toys.com so you never miss a deal... TwitterRSS FeedFacebook

Today’s Featured deals:

91bci4gzz7l-_sl1500_Logitech UE Mini Boombox Bluetooth speaker, ‘the best portable speaker you can buy’: $59 shipped

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 6.11.45 PM

Apple iPad Leather Smart Cover (open box) $15 Shipped (Reg. $69 new)

3-in-1 Universal USB Charging Cable -This universal USB cable is the last charging cable you’ll ever need. It can charge up to 3 devices simultaneously, and is compatible with iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS/3G/3, iPad, iPod, Android, HTC, Samsung and other devices. It’s optimized to avoid tangling, and for $7 + Free Shipping (a big discount from $59) it is the same price as Apple’s single Lightning cable. We reviewed the Cable here for more information.

Other great deals we love:

Read more

Apple’s to DOJ: Publishers already decided to fix prices before iBookstore came along

Image (1) iBookstore1.jpg for post 30622

In the ongoing e-book price fixing case with the Department of Justice, in which Apple is accused of conspiring with publishers to fix eBook pricing and cut out Amazon, Apple has again responded to the DOJ’s claims detailing the “tough negotiations” it went through with publishers. To further prove its point that it was not colluding with publishers to fix e-book pricing, Apple said it “one-on-one” and “contentious negotiations” at a time when publishers were already considering methods of getting Amazon to increase pricing: Read more

Cue on agency model: ‘I don’t think you understand. We can’t treat newspapers or magazines any differently than we treat FarmVille.”

By now you probably know that the U.S. Department of Justice launched an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and two publishers this month following an investigation into Apple’s eBook pricing agency model. Three publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, decided to reach a settlement with the Department of Justice to return to Amazon’s set-your-own price wholesale model. Meanwhile, Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin will take the fight to court.

Interestingly, a report from The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the HarperCollins’ parent company News Corp, suggested Apple was only ever trying to continue its App Store business model. The Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz described visiting Senior Apple Executive Eddy Cue to discuss changing Apple’s policies for publications. He quoted Cue as comparing book pricing to apps and not wanting to treat publications differently than app developers:
Read more

Apple wants to go to trial in eBook price-fixing, no settlement planned

An Apple lawyer told Reuters today that the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company wants to go to trial over allegedly working with five other publishers to raise the prices of eBooks. A few analysts already said that Apple has a good chance of winning in court, which is most likely why Apple will not choose to settle and will instead fight it out. An Apple lawyer told Reuters: “Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits. We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that.”

Three of the five accused eBook publishers already settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, but Macmillan and Penguin chose to also fight the Department of Justice. All five publishers are accused of meeting in a London hotel to discuss raising the price of eBooks.

Apple may have a strong case, because it did not participate in the meeting and it does not set the price of publishers’ eBooks. The civil antitrust suit alleged, however, that Apple’s move to let publishers set their own prices—and it is a requirement that publishers do not sell their digital books for cheaper elsewhere—forced consumers to pay millions more for eBooks than they should have.

Apple was also accused of setting a monopoly over the eBook market, but the company would like to think otherwise.

Read more

Report: DOJ to sue Apple this week over fixed eBook pricing allegation

The U.S. Department of Justice will sue Apple as early as tomorrow morning over allegations of fixing eBook prices with five major publishers, according to Reuters. The five publishers, which are also in question, will be looked at later in the week.

The Justice Department is investigating alleged price-fixing by Apple and five major publishers: CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, Pearson and Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH.

A lawsuit against Apple, one of the parties not in negotiations with the Justice Department for a potential settlement, could come as early as Wednesday but no final decision has been made, the people said.

The news of a lawsuit comes just weeks after the Department of Justice launched a probe into Apple and the five publishers. We will keep you updated with any more news about this case. Read more

Apple explains stance on e-book price fixing and the ‘Kindle threat’ in court documents

Yesterday, reports from The Wall Street Journal claimed the United States Justice Department was planning to launch an antitrust case against Apple and the country’s five largest book publishers related to claims of e-book price fixing. The European Commission announced in December that it would begin investigating whether Apple and book publishers “engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition.” Many believe the probes are a direct result of Steve Jobs’ comments documented in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography where the late CEO said: “Amazon screwed it up.”

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30 percent, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway… They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

Today, new court documents from a request by Apple to throw out a class action case over e-book price fixing revealed Apple’s stance on the issue. PaidContent explained: “Apple argues that its business plan was to sell as many e-books as possible and that it had no incentive to raise prices.” Meanwhile, Apple argued: “Why would Apple offer Amazon’s Kindle app on the iPad.” The company’s comments sidestepped all claims about Apple allegedly conspiring to slow Amazon’s entrance into the tablet market with Kindle Fire:

Read more