Apple ebooks trial Stories October 13, 2015

The U.S. Justice Department has said that is now satisfied with Apple’s measures to guard against any repetition of the type of anti-competitive behaviour ruled illegal in the long-running ebooks trialBloomberg reports that the department has recommended that the court-appointed monitor is no longer necessary.

In a letter to the Manhattan federal judge who found in 2013 that Apple illegally conspired with publishers to set e-book prices, the U.S. said Apple has “now implemented meaningful antitrust policies, procedures, and training programs that were obviously lacking at the time Apple participated in and facilitated the horizontal price-fixing conspiracy found by this court.”

The letter did, however, note that Apple “never embraced a cooperative working relationship with the monitor” …  expand full story

Apple ebooks trial Stories June 12, 2013

Further updateAn 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 …  expand full story

Apple ebooks trial Stories June 3, 2013

Apple will today defend itself in a Manhattan court against a Department of Justice case accusing it of leading a cartel designed to force up prices of ebooks, Tim Cook having recently told the AllThingsD D11 conference that the case against it was “bizarre.”

The e-book case to me is bizarre. We’ve done nothing wrong there, and so we’re taking a very principled position. … We’re not going to sign something that says we did something we didn’t do. … So we’re going to fight.

At first blush, it does seem bizarre that Apple could be accused of leading a cartel in a market largely controlled by Amazon, but the claim here is that five leading publishers used their dominant position to force up prices – and that Apple put them up to it.

We tend to agree with AllThingsD that it’s tough to see how Apple can win the case when all five of its alleged ‘fellow cartel members’ have already held up their hands and settled with the DOJ, and where there is a clear paper-trail showing that Steve Jobs was instrumental in leading the changes that led to the price-fixing allegations …  expand full story

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