Apple’s Eddy Cue denies price-fixing allegations at U.S v. Apple e-books trial

“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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25 Comments

    1. It was probably cheaper to settle than fight. What would there be to gain for the publishers? Apple on the other hand has the financial means to continue fighting and it would be bad PR to settle even without admitting guilt.

    2. I don’t think guilt or innocence was much of a factor in the publishers’ decisions. It was little more than just another business decision. The DOJ offered them lenient terms if they settled. Lenient enough so that there wasn’t enough value in fighting it.

      The DOJ knew what they were doing. They wanted to first get all the publishers settled and done with so they could go after their “prize” of Apple. Winning such a case is a career boost for those involved.

      I suspect now they feel it’s not going quite as smoothly as they had hoped.

  1. “If they [the publishers] don’t move Amazon over to the agency model I don’t think we can be competitive”. Steve Jobs.

    In other words, Steve pushed the publishers to move Amazon to the agency model knowing it would lock in the prices. And, Eddie is lying his fucking ass off when he says Jobs was indifferent. In Jobs’ own words and in writing, he was the OPPOSITE of indifferent. He was so focused on it that he basically said either Amazon goes to the agency model or Apple wasn’t going to enter the eBook market.

    Keep going fanboys.

      1. Yeah, this sfgh is the very same clown who claimed Apple was responsible for “running a lot of good American companies like RIM and HTC into the ground.” Clueless. Needs to get a life.

        1. Actually, I posted that pretending to be sfgh Lux. I’m a loser and the recipient of sfgh’s idiot of the day award for saying this:

          “If people don’t want to buy from Apple, they can buy it cheaper somewhere else.”

          floom, the biggest idiot with nothing to live for.

          Keep at it floom, I will relentlessly drive you into the ground.

          1. sfgh

            don’t really understand your post but if you’re Sfgh (pretending to be Floom).. I think you must have spent some frantic minutes googling about Rim and HTC and realizing your mistake and now trying to squirm out of it by pretending it’s someone else said it (kinda of convoluted and confusing but I guess that’s your signature? — if your ARE Sfgh.. ?)

            nice try moron.
            lol.

            (if you’re so worried all the time someone is pretending to be you why don’t you like Derek Currie suggests register your name?).

            1. Hi Moto, or should I say floom! You’re a basement, out of work loser with nothing else to do. And the recipient of the idiot of the day award.

              Yes, you should end it all! You’ve got nothing to live for… but Apple! Which is why I understand you’re a fanboy. You need something to believe in because your life sucks.

              Keep it coming floom.

    1. sfgh, exactly what sort of dickhead supports a situation where one company has a monopoly on the supply of ebooks, dictates the prices, and takes 70% in commission, and is critical of those who support a company who’s entry into the market saw the commission drop to 30%, and ebook prices fall, while availability expanded across the market?
      Answer; you, an ignorant, deluded halfwit, with an irrational hatred of one of the world’s most innovative technology companies.
      What’s the matter, girly, were you abused by your mummy throwing an iPod at you when you were a baby or something?

      1. Hi Rorschach:

        How’s it going you fucking fanboy idiot?

        Are you ready?

        You realize that Apple’s play in the eBook market has nothing to do with agency pricing. It was Amazon that invented this in the industry with KDP, their self-publishing platform well before Apple even thought about eBooks.

        Apple is not the reason for agency pricing, Amazon is. You’re an idiot. And as an idiot does, you confuse and conflate issues.

        1. Larger publishers had their own direct deals with Amazon (not agency).
        2. Self-publishers are one size fits all agency.
        3. Apple came along and tried to inflate and fix eBook pricing using an agency model with LARGE publishers because they wanted to undermine Amazon’s cheap prices and hegemony.
        4. The commission has dropped on the agency model because of companies like Kobo and Sony who have been offering much more favorable terms for years to compete against Amazon.
        5. Apple did have something to do as well with lower commissions but it has nothing to do with their eBooks: their 30% commission on the App Store helped solidify the 30% commission on eBooks.

        Apple tried to inflate and fix eBook prices by colluding with industry. Amazon did not.

        1. sfgh:

          you keep harping on it and saying Jobs wanted the 12.99 price or whatever

          yet
          today as Eddy Cue testified, Jobs was already dying when the deals were being made.
          as if Jobs eally cared so much for a buck or two more per book WHEN iTunes was run for years as a loss leader (Jobs was happy it didn’t make money but helped iPod sales). Shoot: Cheap Books would HELP Apple’s hardware sales not hinder it.

          What is iBooks ? a tiny fraction of one percent of apple’s profits, i.e iBooks is near irrelevant to apple’s survival. As if Jobs is going to spend the last few weeks of his life hatching iBooks plots , clandestine meetings with executives which you previously argued etc. Nuts.

          You call people idiot yet I think you should just look into a mirror.

    2. sfgh

      why don’t you just cut and paste a shortened version of your posts and save everybody time and MDN space like:
      “hate apple
      collusion
      fanboys”

      we know exactly what you want to say AND we know REGARDLESS of any PERTINENT NEW INFO your position is still stuck where it was weeks ago, i.e you are the only one who does’t need to review new evidence (for example the Actual Jobs email SENT has just been presented in court vs. the draft one put out by the DOJ and it you think the impression given by the two emails doesn’t change anything that just shows your stuck no logic “I just hate apple and apple fans regardless” position.

      1. My name’s disgark, I post nothing factual. Nothing at all. All I do is criticize anyone who is critical of Apple. I am hopelessly delusional with nothing to live for.

        Apple tried to inflate and fix eBook pricing by colluding with industry.

        1. SFGH: “Apple tried to inflate and fix eBook pricing by colluding with industry.”

          see I was RIGHT! that’s ALL you have to say, your one idea argument for weeks endlessly repeating , thanks for taking my advice to KEEP IT SHORT this time though!

          as for “posting nothing factual” , no way , I posted something VERY FACTUAL, which is “SFGH is stuck in an apple hate position and no new evidence no matter how pertinent is going to sway him”. you’ve just proved my point.

          1. You’re a fucking delusional punk.

            YOU know the evidence against Apple. You know what Steve Jobs said “Let’s make a go at creating a $12.99 and $14.99 eBook market”. You know that all of the world’s largest publishers got together with Apple and agreed to this pricing only if they all agreed to do it. That nobody would undercut anyone else.

            You also know that HarperCollins resisted Apple and illustrated, in writing, why they didn’t want to do this. Because it would fix and lock them into Apple’s pricing.

            You know Apple’s contract had publishers not sell for anymore or any less than the prices on the iBookstore.

            You know that Apple/Jobs had new releases and best sellers fixed price in the contract for $12.99 and $14.99.

            You know that Jobs/Apple said that they couldn’t be competitive unless Amazon was pushed into the agency model.

            Apple are greasy scum sucking greedy dickheads.

            You know all of this. Yet you deny this.

            You’re delusional.

            1. look how under control my posts are compared to your rants “greasy scum sucking greedy dickheads”

              so proves my point again
              “SFGH is stuck in an apple hate position”

              you keep making me look good
              lol.

              everyone on this forum knows who is the calm and in control (me) and who is the one foaming (you). And no matter how often you keep repeating your error filled arguments everyone still knows you are wrong.
              sorry dude

    3. OK, so who is playing at being sfgh today? Come on! Fess up!

      Seriously: what’s the point of having a nick if you’re going to hide behind it as an anonymous coward? Who’s going to give a rat’s what you have to say? No one.

  2. sorry if this is heavy-handed, but, I think mdn might want to block this jerk’s (sfgh) posts for a time. he monopolizes the blog and has little of value to add to any conversation, in fact, he makes conversation all but impossible.

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