“A top Apple Inc. executive described as Steve Jobs’ right-hand man took the witness stand at a Manhattan price-fixing trial and denied scheming with major book publishers to drive up the cost of electronic books,” Tom Hays reports for The Associated Press.

“Eddy Cue was questioned about meetings he had in 2009 with chief executives of publishing houses about what they called their ‘Amazon problem’ — the discounted $9.99 price that Amazon.com set for e-books,” Hays reports. “‘They expressed to us that they wanted higher prices,’ he said.”

Hays reports, “Cue was the chief negotiator in deals with the publishers that allowed them to set prices as high as $14.99 for sales in Apple’s new iBookstore. But he denied that the deals were calculated to force Amazon into similar agreements that would raise its prices as well. Jobs closely monitored the negotiations but was “indifferent” about the outcome for Amazon, Cue testified. However, when asked if Jobs knew that there was a chance that once the iBookstore launched, publishers would withhold bestsellers and new releases from Amazon, he responded, ‘I believe so, sure. Smart guy.’”

Read more in the full article here.

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