Apple unlikely to settle U.S. e-book price-fixing case

“Apple (AAPL) is under pressure to settle a civil antitrust case accusing it of conspiring to raise e-book prices, now that the presiding judge has indicated she thinks the U.S. Justice Department has a strong case,” Patrick Seitz reports for Investor’s Business Daily.

“In a pretrial hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote expressed her tentative view that the Justice Department will be able to show evidence that Apple engaged in a conspiracy with publishers to increase e-book prices, Reuters reported,” Seitz reports. “Attorneys for Apple strongly disagreed with the judge’s preliminary statements. Apple has said its entry into the e-books market benefited consumers by providing competition to Amazon.com.”

“The Justice Department brought its antitrust case against Apple and the five publishers on April 11, 2012. Attorney General Eric Holder said Apple made anticompetitive deals with the publishers ahead of its iPad tablet launch to break Amazon’s dominance in the digital book market,” Seitz reports. “The case implicated Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software services, in the scheme.”

Seitz reports, “Don’t expect Apple to cave though, says Gartner analyst Van Baker… Apple is likely to fight the case on principle, he says… ‘They don’t tend to vary in situations where they believe they’re correct,’ Baker said. ‘They’re not going to waffle on this for the sake of expediency.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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25 Comments

  1. Tim Cook doesn’t fear the feds. He’ll fight them cheap suit wearing crooks tooth and nail before he allows himself to be extorted. No settlement, no mercy. He’ll stand tall and force these cowards to think twice before they come after Apple again.

    1. The problem is that is almost impossible to win. Apple is right but what they do will only make the government angrier. They will not lose, they will force their will.

  2. I don’t care if they lose they shouldn’t go out without a lot of kicking, screaming and a ton of good sense and solid reasoning. The DOJ should really be ashamed of themselves for helping Amazon get an unhealthy percentage of book sales, just the opposite effect of what they should be fostering. Just what the hell are they thinking?

      1. Ok crook, name the law that Apple are operating outside of.
        In detail. I can promise you this; you won’t be able to, because Apple aren’t. They are using the law, as laid down by government agencies, to minimise the tax they pay. That is not illegal. Except to the ignorant.
        And breaking the monopoly on ebook sales that Amazon held is not anti-competitive, either. Except to the ignorant.

        1. Don’t need to name the law, that’s the DOJs job. And they’ve done a pretty good job showing the publishers the error of their ways. Apple will be next.

          1. They have not, the publishers just know that the cards are stacked against them standing up to the crooked DOinJustice which is part of the same crooked administration that uses the IRS to go after political enemies meanwhile they allow a good man to die in Lybia while they take no actions to save him and even prevent others from trying to rescue.

            If anyone should be in jail it’s the IRS and Obama with them. Laws mean nothing in a country run by people who see them as political tools.

      2. In this country, it’s “innocent until proven guilty”, even if Apple is the only company with the balls to stand up to the DoJ when it would probably be cheaper to settle.

        1. Crook, you are the crook, not Apple. YOU ARE CROOK CROOK HAHAHAAA

          You sound like chicken – crook crook crook. Hahaaaa

          Apple is better than you and will survive like ice cream. You are not ice cream crook. You are a duck that makes sound like chicken.

        1. They’ve always skirted the law. Just like Microsoft. But unlike ms apple was small fry until recently so now people are taking notice. They’re as bad as any other corporation.

  3. It is an important issue worthy of Apple’s attention. Which came first? Amazon’s predatory pricing? Or Apple and publishers attempt to re-establish fair pricing?

    1. From what we know at this point, Apple didn’t try to establish pricing. They offered the agency model and tiered pricing, just like Apple does for everything else sold on their stores. The company utilizing the tiered structure chooses which tier out of the many any given book would be sold in. What the RICCO act prohibits is two or more parties agreeing on what price they will set for the same product. Since DoJ isn’t really dumb there must be more to it than I’m aware of, because when I was receiving the annual RICCO lectures at Apple, we were working with dealers, and they were all selling the same product (our Macs). So I’m not actually clear how these book publishers can be accused of agreeing to offer the same product for the same price — they don’t each publish the same book!

  4. Eric Holder is about to be put over Apple’s knee. Maybe the DoJ got spoiled by the likes of Google – who forked over a $500 million settlement to avoid going to trial for advertising unregulated drugs – but Apple ain’t Google. I will be watching this trial unfold with absolute delight.

  5. The Feds need to show the documentation or testimony where Apple sets the price of *any* book in the iBook store. It’s impossible to do prize fixing if you have absolutely zero control over the prices.

    Even Steve’s email just says that the PUBLISHERS could raise their prices if THEY (NOT Apple) wanted to do so. Even Steve’s “smoking gun” email does not say the publishers must raise their prices.

    Besides, there is VERY long standing legal precedent that what is discussed in negotiations is not relevant once a formal agreement is reached an signed. What matters is what is in the final document. The final agreements say Apple has zero control over pricing.

  6. Crooks my APPLE, Apple came out with another revolutionary device…..callled the iPad. They spent BILLIONs on the device and server farms all over the WORLD to market the booksellers product and distrubute it. They said, charge whatever you want, but we want a third and do not sell it to anybody else cheaper. Why, because …..its their product. They can charge what they want. They built it, they should profit from their art. This is what patents are all about, not to mention private enterprise or contracts. Keep riding the white horse Apple.

  7.  doesn’t have a chance, the DOJ will illegally pull their phone records just like they did those mean ol’ terrorists: Associated Press reporters. When Obama sloganed “yes, we can” didn’t realize he was talking about warrantless illegal search and seizures. What the hell does he have to do to be impeached? Rape Oprah?

    1. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives can begin the impeachment process anytime they’d like. Nobody, including Obama himself, could stop them. It’s all up to Speaker of the House John Boehner and his lieutenants.

      And like you, I’m hoping and praying they move to impeach, because it would guarantee that by January 2015 the House of Representatives will no longer be Republican-controlled.

  8. Apple is right. But they will still lose I think.
    In the government eyes they are guilty. So this trail is will decide nothing. The government will force its will no matter what. They can’t be seen losing a case like this.

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