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Steve Jobs Email in E-Book Case Provides Insight Into Thinking Process

ibooks_icon.jpgThus far in the ongoing e-book price fixing case, Apple has maintained that it was indifferent to what business model book publishers adopted with Amazon. However, an email from Steve Jobs to Eddy Cue submitted today by the U.S. Department of Justice appeared to undermine Apple's argument, according to Fortune:
“I can live with this as long as they move Amazon to the agent model too for new releases for the first year. If not, I’m not sure we can be competitive …”
Apple's chief counsel quickly noted that the email was never sent, and AllThingsD now reports that Jobs later sent a longer, more detailed email with his complete thoughts on the negotiations with book publishers.
“I can live with this, as long as they also agree to the other thing you told me you can get: The retail price they will set for any book will be the LOWER of the applicable “iTunes” price below OR the lowest wholesale price they offer the book at to anyone else, with our wholesale price being 70% of such price. For example, normally our retail price for a $26 book will be $12.99 and we will pay 70% of that, or $9.10. However, if they offer the same book to Amazon for a wholesale price of, say $12.50, then our retail price for the same book shall be set at $12.50 and we will pay 70% of that price for the book.”
The emails provide some insight into Jobs' thought process during the negotiations. The draft and final versions of the email show that Jobs initially appeared to have strong feelings on how Amazon's pricing would have to be affected, but then according to the emails' timestamps he reconsidered his position within two hours to offer a different angle and concern about the negotiations.

The testimony portion of the case is now in the second week, with Cue set to take the stand tomorrow.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 16 months ago
Wonder how the government got that email :/
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

E-book pricing is not a threat to national security...


It's called "a joke".
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

Wonder how the government got that email :/


Probably from a subpoena, which is perfectly legal.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

Unfortunately, this is the most likely outcome.

Apple really screwed the ebook market for consumers, as well as for small retailers, many of whom went out of business.

Even if Apple disgorges all of their ebook profits, they'll still be ahead, as they used ebooks to sell hardware.

The bankrupt small retailers and consumers will get cold comfort.


Laughable assertion. Amazon drove the small retailers out of business, not Apple. Apple just entered the market for the first time having a model that could compete with Amazon's juggernaut.

Before Apple entered the market, there is no competition. After Apple entered the market, there is competition. For some reason the DoJ has a problem with this???
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
Spoiler alert: the case closes with a sum of money being paid. Not much will change
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

Wonder how the government got that email :/


NSA + Verizon (most likely)
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
Something doesn't look right in this. Unless what is be shown by allthingsD isn't what's actually shown in court or the pictures got mixed up in posting. But from their article it doesn't look like it as they elaborate on the content.

the DOJ email has a received time stamp 1/14/2010 @ 18:23:09

Apple claims what the DOJ submitted it was a "draft" entering into evidence the "final" email.

Apple's email has a received time stamp of 1/14/2010 @ 18:21:39

Why would an email that's a "draft" have a received time stamp?

Also the time stamp of the "draft" occurs about 2 minutes AFTER than the "final". Shouldn't the "draft" have an earlier time stamp? Apple's contention is that Steve later sent a more complete email.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

Not admissible in court. Yes, the gov't spies on you. No, it isn't legal. Evidence gathered isn't admissible in court. They'd still need a warrant to gather the same evidence legally first then use it against you. Keep your conspiracy theories out of here.


wtf. It was a joke, but ok. What 'conspiracy theories', PRISM is a reality. Keep your orders of what to do out of there.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

You really don't understand what this case is about, do you? If you do - maybe you can explain why, if true, the DOJ should not have a problem with collusion?

Then you could tell me why the major publishers all immediately settled out of court.

Things like that...


Umm most are hurting for money as is. Most don't want to endure 1-2 yr court battle that they may or may not win. Also most people won't fight the gov they just give in. It happens ever day when people get speeding tickets but they just pay the fine instead of fighting it in court. So paying a fine doesn't mean they are guilty I've had to pay fine on my friends car due to his tag being out of date. Is that fair? Not when I was keeping my friend from getting a DUI and police officer and judge both knew this.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

Wonder how the government got that email :/


The normal discovery process.

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Are unsent email drafts normally admissible in court? Especially in this case, to try to prove Apple's intentions or business plans? Doesn't quite seem fair.


Of course they are. It's no different than notes a person might have written to a file for their own purposes. Whether they were sent to someone else or not has no bearing on their admissibility. Apple can however argue that Steve's thoughts on the matter changed, and we can be sure they will do just that.
Rating: 2 Votes

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