In a new interview with Fortune, Apple’s SVP of Internet and Software Services Eddy Cue opened up about Apple’s ongoing ebooks litigation ahead of the company’s December 15th appearance before a federal appeals court. Apple formally appealed the ebooks antitrust ruling earlier this year after a judge ruled in favor of the Department of Justice in 2013 claiming that Apple conspired with ebook publishers to raise prices.
“We feel we have to fight for the truth,” says Cue. “Luckily, Tim feels exactly like I do,” he continues, referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “which is: You have to fight for your principles no matter what. Because it’s just not right.”
Earlier last month, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved a $450 million settlement under which Apple will not be forced to pay any fees if it wins the upcoming appeal. If Apple does not win its appeal, it will be subject to a $450 million payout, $50 of which will cover legal fees with the remaining balance going to a consumer fund. (Apple will be subject to a $70 million pay out with $50 million intended for the consumer fund if the original verdict is overturned but the case is sent back.)
During the interview, Cue discussed increasing book prices in light of the case against it that it conspired with publishers to raise prices:
“Is it a fact that certain book prices went up?” asks Cue. “Yes. If you want to convict us on that, then we’re guilty. I knew some prices were going to go up, but hell, the whole world knew it, because that’s what the publishers were saying: ‘We want to get retailers to raise prices, and if we’re not able to, we’re not going to make the books available digitally.’ At the same time, other prices went down too, because now there was competition in the market.”
Cue shared his recount of pitching the iBook Store to then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs after using a prototype version of the iPad before its launch:
“I remember taking it home to play with,” Cue recalls, “and it was clear to me it would make a great ebook reader.” So he suggested to CEO Steve Jobs that Apple open an ebook store along the lines of iTunes. “He said, ‘I’m not going to delay the product for this,’ ” Cue recounts, “ ‘but I’ll let you go see what you can get done.’ ”
Accompanied with Fortune’s interview with Eddy Cue is a lengthy recap of the ebooks trial including more testimony of Cue’s of how Apple first got into ebook distribution. The article notes that Cue never met with any of the publishers together, although Cue recalled an article about Amazon’s ebook pricing driving down the publishing industry and how that would make for “more interesting meetings than [he] thought.”
“If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it again,” he says. “I’d just take better notes.”
The full article from Fortune is well worth a read ahead of Apple’s upcoming appeal later this month.
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