“Central to the U.S. Department of Justice’s e-book price fixing case against Apple are the Most Favored Nation (MFN) agreements the company struck with publishers that ensured it would always be able to sell e-books at least as cheaply as rival retailers,” John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD.
“The government contends that Apple’s MFN agreements were a crucial part of the company’s conspiracy to raise e-book prices and reap the benefits. But in vetting that argument, it failed to answer a key question about those arrangements prior to trial. Specifically, were they the same for each publisher or were they different? If, as the DOJ argues, Apple was facilitating collusion among a cabal of publishers, you’d think that MFN agreement terms would be identical across the cabal with all participants guaranteed the same terms,” Paczkowski reports. “But they weren’t. Turns out, Apple negotiated different MFNs with each publisher. And in court Tuesday, Apple’s lead counsel, Orin Snyder, repeatedly pointed that out.”
Paczkowski reports, “‘It does make the government’s case harder,’ Stanford law school professor Mark Lemley told AllThingsD. ‘But it doesn’t mean there was no conspiracy.'”
Read more in the full article here.
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