Apple tells U.S. DOJ of tough talks, not collusion, with publishers

“Apple Inc responded to Justice Department accusations it conspired with publishers to push up electronic book prices, saying it negotiated with a number of publishing companies separately and crafted different agreements with each,” Diane Bartz reports for Reuters.

“U.S. authorities have termed Apple a go-between among several publishing houses who had long wanted to break Inc’s grip on the low-cost digital book market, which had kept publishers’ prices low,” Bartz reports. “The Justice Department accused Apple in April 2012 of colluding with five publishers to push up prices as the Silicon Valley giant prepared to launch its iPad in early 2010. It has since settled with the publishers.”

Bartz reports, “In a filing dated April 26 and released on Tuesday, Apple said that the major publishers were at the time locked in a battle with online retailer Amazon over selling books cheaply. But Apple said the publishers had decided, independent of Apple, to eliminate discounts on wholesale book prices of e-books, to sell lucrative hardcover books first to bookstores in a practice called windowing and to take other measures to push Amazon to raise prices.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote the day the DOJ filed their lawsuit, “The U.S. DOJ is plainly inept.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

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    1. First, it was an inept (or stupid) judge that authorized those subpoenas. All, literally all, lawyers (not just the DOJ lawyers) ask for more discovery than they truly think they can get past the judge. In this case the judge was stupid enough to authorize the subpoenas.

      Second, from the most accurate information I’ve been able to gather (as opposed to all the fear mongering “reports” running around) it was a set of subpoenas for phone records. It was not a set of authorizations for wiretapping.

      The subpoenas authorize the DOJ to find out who certain reporters have been calling and who has been calling those reporters. It is not to allow them to monitor or record their phone calls. This is consistent with the DOJ’s claim that they need to investigate past actions by these reporters.

      IMNSHO, the judge should not have authorized these subpoenas without a *HUGE* amount of very specific information — and then only specific pieces of this information, not a blanket fishing license.

  1. What do you expect when the Dept. of Jokers is run by a mincing bunch of limp wristed liberals. Getting meaningful (as opposed to wasteful) work done in that liberal infested rat hole would be too much to expect of government appointed retards.

    1. I don’t think libs have the market cornered on wasteful work. Both parties are equally corrupt and equally invested in the dog-and-pony show that they’ve been putting on while stripping us of our rights and sending this country into the shitter. BOTH parties.

    2. Yeah, BLN, you are right. It takes self-righteous, government appointed, ultra conservatives to be truly, meaningfully corrupt.

      Now let’s get serious. You claim to have a grasp on history. Both parties have engaged in questionable, even illegal, activities. We need to clean up government – all of it – and not play partisan politics and institute partisan witch hunts.

      If you truly believe what you posted, then you are a major part of the problem.

  2. The certainty of MDN that Apple can do no wrong, that Tim Cook is a great CEO, that all critics are trolls, that the price of AAPL is a result of market manipulation, that all of Apple’s products are better (buyers of gadgets say they are not or if they are it doesn’t matter), and that everything is rosy in Cupertino is WOW, just WOW. Get over yourselves and realize that bad stuff is happening with this company and all of it can be laid at the feet of the inept Tim Cook and that all you claim will never be the reality as long as he is in charge. Please.

    1. Cook has nothing to do with e-book pricing which started under Jobs not Cook. Go bash your head against a wall where it will do more good than bashing MDN here.

    2. Dear Jay,
      Yes. Yes you are right… and also about the sky falling. Yep there too.

      Its the end of days… I read it on line, so it must be true.

      Samsung also made lots of money and Apple stock is down, so that tells us that God is actually Korean, possibly south… /s

      Also, you are totally right about Apple. It should quickly adopt Dell’s techniques and methods cause Dell is doing so great right now. Or else its DOOMED, DOOMED I say….

      PS, is sure seems funny, but if samsung…… want Tim Cook to leave, maybe its because samsung….er…you see that he is following Steve Jobs’s game plan and that Apple will continue making insanely great products and taking over 65% of the world wide PROFIT (you know the actually important money stuff) in every category that it gets into. So if samsung….er….you want to stop Apple, the easiest way is to get a level headed CEO out of there and get some one like M. Dell in instead…

      Great plan… Best of luck with that…

      Heavy /s

    1. sfgh,

      Er,,, sure……. right……????? Just how does Apple fix prices when the price comes from the publishers????

      Now Apple can suggest, propose, and even help publishers decide on a price and game plan…. But it is powerless on setting a price since it does not OWN the CONTENT.

      Just a reasonable thought there.

      1. Listen you fucktards. I’m in the eBook business. Apple artificially inflated eBook prices to around $12.99 which was their sweet spot. The same books were around $9.99 on Amazon’s platform. The way Apple got industry to charge $12.99 for their books was to lock them in. If you had a publisher agreement with Apple, you could not sell your books anywhere else for less than $12.99… which smacks right in the face of Amazon who have terms that allow them to reduce your retail price.

        So not only do you get locked into a price, you get locked into Apple and have trouble selling elsewhere because of their bullshit draconian terms.

        This sucks. But Amazon also sucks because of how cheap they make everything and how much of a creep Bezos is. Neither scenario here is particularly good. It’s platform wars and the creators get caught in the middle.

        The answer is to have much more favorable terms for publishers and that’s why what the DOJ is doing by breaking this up is good overall for the industry.

        But if you fucktard fanboys had real businesses and lives you’d understand the business side of things better. But you don’t. And you just bullshit around and think that Apple is the best. Their a great company. I love their products. But they’re hypercompetitive and want your money. They don’t give a shit about any of you or me. It’s just business at the end of the day.

        Buy their stuff. Create stuff. They don’t care if you make any money or not. As long as you support their platform. You’re just a means to filling their bank account.

        Wake up.

    2. sfgh, only the hopelessly deluded could come to that conclusion. As pointed out below, Apple CANNOT set prices, they can only accept prices given to them by the publishers, taking 30% commission.
      Amazon used to take 70%, so who’s the problem party here?

      1. Rorschach:

        You are a delusional idiot. Read my post and understand what exactly Apple did that they shouldn’t have and how they locked in publishers to an inflated pricing model you fucking moron.

        1. sfgh:

          I wouldn’t bother trying to point out facts or expert takes on anything that shows Apple to be doing some wrongdoing. This place is just fanboy central.

  3. It seems more likely that the publishers colluded with one another, and that Apple was forced into accepting terms they all had agreed upon before each individual negotiation. I believe it’s possible the opportunity with Apple may have been the catalyst, but that Cupertino had little choice but to go along. After all, Apple was not yet the juggernaut it is today — the iPad was just arriving. Apple had tough negotiations with newspaper companies too, and those people didn’t cave into Apple’s contract ideas and terms, even though it would have been better for their business prospects to jump on the mobile, e-publishing bandwagon early (the dumbasses).

  4. If the DOJ insists on attacking Apple Apple should maybe use a successful Scientology tactic against the IRS (that’s how they finally got granted tax exemption as a dubious “church”) and hit the DOJ with so many libelous, etc. lawsuits they won’t have the funds to do anything else.

    Of course Scientology took it a step further and attacked those in power personally having them scrutinized and followed privately trying to uncover secrets these people would not want to be unveiled. I realize the PR in doing something like this would probably be disastrous but it’s fun to contemplate the DOJ getting a nice wedgie.

  5. What I don’t understand is that publishers publish different book titles. I could understand the issue if two publishers published the same title and colluded on price.

    I could understand it if two retailers got together and colluded on price.

    But two publishers?

    Is the “book” an identical thing in of itself of what it is to constitute an illegal act if one guy says: hey, I’ll sell Tom Sawyer for $20 if you sell Creative Landsapes for $10???

    Doesn’t make sense. What does one publisher care what another publisher charges?

    Each of the five publishers has a right to approach Apple to say: please don’t discount our books.


    It seems to me that if a publisher charges too little for books then they don’t have money to pay for quality authors. Then they suffer. People don’t buy books by publishers, they buy from authors. If I want to buy a book on a “subject”, I’m going to buy the expensive one. The cheap author is probably not Te same caliber…probably.

    As MDN keeps saying, it appears the DOJ doesn’t have a clue. No matter how vague or broad the law is written, they have the right to choose what they peruse. This seems like a waste of money.

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