While it is known that the folks in Cupertino are not exactly thrilled to be going to trial over allegedly conspiring with eBook publishers to raise prices, Apple has still gone to trial to fight it. Some analysts even said Apple has a firm chance of winning, but who can really tell in the law world? In a report published by Reuters today, Apple defended itself, calling the lawsuit placed against the company “fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law.” Yesterday, Apple filed with the court claiming it did not work the publishers to try to disrupt Amazon’s lead in the eBook market.
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 along with Apple. All five publishers are accused of meeting in a London hotel to discuss raising the price of eBooks—a meeting that Apple was absent from. This is why Apple said it did not do anything wrong. However, the real kicker that comes into play is 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. The Department of Justice said this created a monopoly for Apple. However, as previously stated, Apple firmly disagreed:
The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.
Today, Apple also said this sends the wrong message to the market: “For Apple to be subject to hindsight legal attack for a business strategy well-recognized as perfectly proper sends the wrong message to the market.”
It will be interesting to see where this case goes over the next few months. Even if Apple does not come out victorious, it will only have to pay a small speeding fine of $200 million, especially considering the company has a whopping $100 billion in cash. The next hearing is June 22.
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