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Apple Wants Trial in iBooks Antitrust Case

An Apple lawyer has said it wants a trial to defend itself in an antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice over the pricing of e-books. Apple's attorney said the company "would like the case to be decided on the merits".
Apple Inc wants to go to trial to defend itself against U.S. government allegations that it conspired with publishers to raise prices of electronic books, a lawyer for the Silicon Valley giant said in court on Wednesday.

Two publishers took a similar stance in the first hearing in Manhattan federal court since the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice last week accused Apple and five publishers of colluding to break up Amazon.com's low-cost dominance of the digital book market.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for June 22. Apple has previously come out strongly against the lawsuit, with a spokesperson saying the accusations against the company were "simply not true."

Top Rated Comments

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30 months ago

This is naive reasoning on several levels.

First of all, antitrust actions are mainly about the government stopping a behavior that it deems to be illegal, and they are typically resolved administratively by the company agreeing not to do it again. If the company is claiming that they never did the offending thing, then agreeing not to do it again should not be an issue. Arguing this in court is a pointless exercise.

Second, these trials can drag on for years, during which a lot of material that the company really would prefer to remain confidential becomes very public. Some of it will no doubt be embarrassing.

Third, the moment the trial opens, media coverage for the company changes utterly. The message is no longer about their new and wonderful products, but about this week's developments in the antitrust trial. We will never be given a chance to forget that Apple is being hoisted up on antitrust charges, and the public will be constantly reminded about how big and possibly arrogant and out of control Apple has become. In short, a PR nightmare, squared.

Finally, if the case ever proceeds to a Finding of Fact, then Apple become vulnerable to all sorts of private actions.

Going into court, guns blazing, with some misguided mission to "preserve your honor" is a fool's errand. The smart company makes it go away as quickly and quietly as possible.

All of this Microsoft discovered the hard way. I hope Apple is smart enough to not repeat their mistakes.

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They protect neither. They protect competition.


LOL what are you talking about? This is NOT Microsoftian antitrust in nature. It's over . . . . e-book pricing. *yawn*

This will register with the public like Question Period in the House of Commons.

They want iPads, and MORE Apple gear. More and more of it, and to the tune of billions of dollars' worth of open wallets.

It's The Great e-book Trial. It's positively comedic. LOL Joe Average won't give a damn. If he doesn't give a damn about alleged (though hugely sensationalized and thoroughly reported) Foxconn worker abuse, he won't care about piddly e-book pricing.

Get real. This isn't Microsoft antitrust. We live in an age where consumers are falling all over themselves to get Apple gear. It'll take wrongdoing of MASSIVE proportions for little Johnny next door, or so and so's wife, or the current Fortune 500 company rolling out iPads, to think twice about their planned Apple purchases.

If Apple can weather the Foxconn "dirty laundry" with barely a scratch - most consumers didn't even care to notice, it was ALL about the New iPad and iPhone 5 rumours - then chances are, they'll be just fine with the rest of their laundry. Remember, it's TIM COOK running Apple. it's safe to say he runs a very tight ship. They're prepared.

Really now, what "dirty laundry" will the world find out and stand in awe over? That Apple kills puppies? That they're running a prostitution ring? LMAO, truly. There was even that Stock Options "scandal." Apparently that was supposed to be serious. It barely registered with anyone.

Most of the lovable geeks and tech-heads hanging out on tech sites on the ass-end of the net understand tech very well. Chips and circuits and Terminal commands, and moaning about Mission Control, and wielding their sacred photoshopped mockups in fake iPhone rumour battles (LOL.) It's PEOPLE they have a problem with. Consumer Behaviour 101. Check it.
Rating: 9 Votes
30 months ago
Because it's not "dirty laundry" perhaps?

In this case, Monopolies are designed to hurt competition -- usually meaning that one company exerts undue controll on the market to be able to arbitrarily set pricing for the whole industry based not on competition but on something that benefits the company in question.

Apple's point in all of this is that "competition" in this market is in distribution and quality of product more so than JUST PRICE. In fact, Amazon was stifling honest competition in these area by focusing SOLELY on price which it was arbitrarily placing at LOWER THAN COST in the hopes that customers will buy the "loss leader" e-books and stay to buy a stereo or something of the sort. This was destroying competition in the e-books segment by basturdizing the entire industry to help another unrelated industry.

ON THE MERITS, Apple likely feels that the spirit of the law in the first place is being served better by the publishers setting prices than it was by the "free market" (ie ONLY Amazon) setting prices and destroying the industry in the process.
Rating: 9 Votes
30 months ago

They obviously know they can win.

If you think they haven't considered their position extremely carefully (this is Tim Cook and his legal department we're talking about) then you don't know Apple. This is the same Apple that hoisted MS over a barrel with Quicktime litigation and extracted over $100 million out of them when the dust settled.

Apple is *very* experienced in the litigation game. Sit back and watch how it's done.


You mean like how they've made zero progress in Jobs' "thermonuclear war" against Android? Actually, scratch that - negative progress considering that they've only managed to invalidate their own patents.
Rating: 8 Votes
30 months ago

Why would Apple want all their dirty laundry thrown out there for everyone to see?


If you were accused of crime you didn't commit, would you simply plead guilty (and accept the fine and jail time) just to avoid the publicity?

Anti-Trust law is complicated to begin with. Add in the complications brought about by the development of e-books, and things begin to look a lot less black-and-white than the DoJ would like people to believe. This is about a lot more than just people's "right" (was there ever such a thing?) to get cheap copies of NY Times Bestsellers.

Apple wants a trial because it believes that it didn't orchestrate a conspiracy. Or, to be more legally accurate, it doesn't think the Government can really prove that it did.

A trial will typically be decided by a Jury. What do you think the chances are that you are going to find twelve citizens who buy all of their books as digital downloads for their Kindles? My guess is - pretty much zero.

The TechNerds who make up a big fraction of MR's readership need to understand that not everyone in the world sees things the way they do.
Rating: 8 Votes
30 months ago

Because it's not "dirty laundry" perhaps?


If you were accused of crime you didn't commit, would you simply plead guilty (and accept the fine and jail time) just to avoid the publicity?


This is naive reasoning on several levels.

First of all, antitrust actions are mainly about the government stopping a behavior that it deems to be illegal, and they are typically resolved administratively by the company agreeing not to do it again. If the company is claiming that they never did the offending thing, then agreeing not to do it again should not be an issue. Arguing this in court is a pointless exercise.

Second, these trials can drag on for years, during which a lot of material that the company really would prefer to remain confidential becomes very public. Some of it will no doubt be embarrassing.

Third, the moment the trial opens, media coverage for the company changes utterly. The message is no longer about their new and wonderful products, but about this week's developments in the antitrust trial. We will never be given a chance to forget that Apple is being hoisted up on antitrust charges, and the public will be constantly reminded about how big and possibly arrogant and out of control Apple has become. In short, a PR nightmare, squared.

Finally, if the case ever proceeds to a Finding of Fact, then Apple become vulnerable to all sorts of private actions.

Going into court, guns blazing, with some misguided mission to "preserve your honor" is a fool's errand. The smart company makes it go away as quickly and quietly as possible.

All of this Microsoft discovered the hard way. I hope Apple is smart enough to not repeat their mistakes.

----------

Ok, antitrust laws are not there to protect quality, they are there to protect price.


They protect neither. They protect competition.
Rating: 6 Votes
30 months ago

Because it's not "dirty laundry" perhaps?

In this case, Monopolies are designed to hurt competition -- usually meaning that one company exerts undue controll on the market to be able to arbitrarily set pricing for the whole industry based not on competition but on something that benefits the company in question.

Apple's point in all of this is that "competition" in this market is in distribution and quality of product more so than JUST PRICE. In fact, Amazon was stifling honest competition in these area by focusing SOLELY on price which it was arbitrarily placing at LOWER THAN COST in the hopes that customers will buy the "loss leader" e-books and stay to buy a stereo or something of the sort. This was destroying competition in the e-books segment by basturdizing the entire industry to help another unrelated industry.

ON THE MERITS, Apple likely feels that the spirit of the law in the first place is being served better by the publishers setting prices than it was by the "free market" (ie ONLY Amazon) setting prices and destroying the industry in the process.


Yeah, sure, Apple, the corporation with more cash reserves than the entire African continent, is the saint and is only trying to protect us all from the evil competitors. I get it.

On the merits, do you know what Amazon did for ALL authors on this planet? They freed writers from the power of the publishing houses by making them OBSOLETE. Yes, Amazon successfully destroyed the TRADITIONAL publishing industry and replaced it with something MODERN. Amazon did some incredibly great there for the benefit of all writers AND readers.

Yes, this new order totally sucks for the old publishing houses. Just like the invention of mp3 and file sharing sucks for record labels and now even the movie industry.

Technology has evolved, their business models haven't. The process is called selection - either adept or become extinct.

Anyway. In your next lesson, you Apple's business model is better for consumers than Amazon's. At least Amazon gives me a free choice on which platform I want to read my eBooks - they don't care whether it's an iOS gadget, an Android or a Windows device, their Kindle readers or even a web browser using read.amazon.com. They also give their authors the choice whether they want to publish free of DRM or with DRM.

Apple only lets me read on iOS gadgets. They don't even support their own OS X platform. They try to get exclusive content by adding dubious licensing conditions to their iBooks Author software.

What again were the merits of Apple's offerings?
Rating: 6 Votes
30 months ago
LTD - I believe you are wrong. The public sector for which ebook pricing (and it's quite large) is important has been VERY vocal about their dissatisfaction of pricing. So while it might not be the full on masses - this case is very important and will affect anyone who has an ipad, kindle, sony e-reader and any other device which can read an ebook on.

People aren't just yelling "give me more Apple gear" - they are yelling "Why am I paying more for this book than before? Or more than the cover price?" and so on.

I know you'll defend Apple right down to the core no matter what - but this is yet another instance where you come off ridiculous in your commentary.
Rating: 5 Votes
30 months ago

Yeah, sure, Apple, the corporation with more cash reserves than the entire African continent, is the saint and is only trying to protect us all from the evil competitors. I get it.

On the merits, do you know what Amazon did for ALL authors on this planet? They freed writers from the power of the publishing houses by making them OBSOLETE. Yes, Amazon successfully destroyed the TRADITIONAL publishing industry and replaced it with something MODERN. Amazon did some incredibly great there for the benefit of all writers AND readers.

Yes, this new order totally sucks for the old publishing houses. Just like the invention of mp3 and file sharing sucks for record labels and now even the movie industry.

Technology has evolved, their business models haven't. The process is called selection - either adept or become extinct.

Anyway. In your next lesson, you Apple's business model is better for consumers than Amazon's. At least Amazon gives me a free choice on which platform I want to read my eBooks - they don't care whether it's an iOS gadget, an Android or a Windows device, their Kindle readers or even a web browser using read.amazon.com. They also give their authors the choice whether they want to publish free of DRM or with DRM.

Apple only lets me read on iOS gadgets. They don't even support their own OS X platform. They try to get exclusive content by adding dubious licensing conditions to their iBooks Author software.

What again were the merits of Apple's offerings?


Finally, after reading a couple a dozen comments, someone here is a voice of reason. Don't get me wrong, I love Apple products, but to support Apple in this case and label them as some kind of David up against the DOJ and Amazon Goliaths is hilarious. Amazon is indeed transforming the publishing industry and the industry dinosaurs have declared Jihad against the company. When I see prices for e-books sometimes going for almost double the soft back price (see Theodore White's series, Making of the President, for one example) something is not right with the e-book pricing.
Rating: 5 Votes
30 months ago

Why would Apple want all their dirty laundry thrown out there for everyone to see?


They obviously know they can win.

If you think they haven't considered their position extremely carefully (this is Tim Cook and his legal department we're talking about) then you don't know Apple. This is the same Apple that hoisted MS over a barrel with Quicktime litigation and extracted over $100 million out of them when the dust settled.

Apple is *very* experienced in the litigation game. Sit back and watch how it's done.
Rating: 4 Votes
30 months ago
First, let me say, I like Amazon. I read several Kindle books a week. My mother is one of the top ranked Amazon reviewers. That said, all the dirty laundry is on Amazon's side. This is much like Wal-mart accusing a small M&P store of monopolistic practices, because, they won't give up and close down shop.

Amazon is running the brick and mortar bookstores out of existence by pricing the products they sell, below their cost. Predatory pricing, with the intent to destroy your competition is a crime. Amazon is driving the cost of books so low, it is running the publishing companies out of business, greatly reducing the quality of editing in books. (Editing is as important to the quality of a book as writing. It is more so for new authors.)

If Amazon is not stopped, they will soon be the only book store and the only publishing house. That is not healthy competition.
Rating: 4 Votes

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