In U.S.A. v. Apple e-books case, witness Barnes & Noble VP Theresa Horner was everything Apple could hope for

“Barnes & Noble, the last of the nationwide brick-and-morter bookstore chains, plays only a bit part in the Department of Justice’s antitrust case against Apple,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “It was one of the ‘other retailers’ that, alongside Amazon, was forced to change its business model when Apple joined the cabal of book publishers conspiring to raise the price of e-books.”

“So there was an element of cognitive dissonance Tuesday in the Manhattan federal courtroom where the case is being tried when Theresa Horner, Barnes & Noble’s VP of digital content, was sworn in as a witness for the defense and began to tell the court what the e-book market looked like in late 2009 and early 2010 from her point of view,” P.E.D. reports. “It was a mess.”

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P.E.D. reports, “In the government’s theory of the case, the agency model was Apple’s contribution to the publishers’ conspiracy. But according to Horner’s testimony, Barnes & Noble was already planning internally to switch the Big Six to agency before Apple arrived, and that she was under instructions to put those plans into ‘overdrive’ before Barnes & Noble lost even more money… Nobody ‘forced’ Barnes & Noble to switch, Horner told the court. The company was doing it for its own survival.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Stupid waste of time.

As we wrote the day the DOJ filed this lawsuit, “The U.S. DOJ is plainly inept.”

Once again: Killing real competition for the appearance of competition is just plain stupid.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Edward W.” and “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

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20 Comments

  1. Amazon is as evil as gaggle. A news report yesterday in Minnesota states amazon is laying off paid bloggers residing within the state so amazon does not have a “physical presence” in MN. Therefore amazon can’t be taxed on sales in MN.

    1. That’s not an example of evil it’s an example of smart business. States levying taxes on Internet sales is unconstitutional as it violates the US federal governments strict sovereignty over interstate commerce.

      Try again.

        1. Maybe so but it has dampened my enthusiasm for buying anything from Amazon, especially big ticket items. It seems tax besieged taxpayers can’t catch a break anymore hardly anywhere. We pay enough already. Eliminate government waste and the government would have PLENTY of dough to operate.

          1. “Tax besieged taxpayers?” Really? We pay less in taxes now than we have historically (http://taxfoundation.org/article/us-federal-individual-income-tax-rates-history-1913-2013-nominal-and-inflation-adjusted-brackets) and less than people in other developed nations. I agree that there’s government waste. There’s waste in EVERY large organization. Look at Microsoft’s R & D budget. Ever spend time working in a big corporation? One of those same corporations that pays less in taxes than you or I do despite being given the same constitutional rights as individuals by certain thoughtless members of the SCOTUS?

    2. according to a poster on CNN, amazon is even more evil than you imagined – see below

      “The Cappy synthmeister

      as a consumer, I don’t love Amazon, because I don’t like that kind of predatory nonsense. Basically, there is a thing I want to buy. It costs “X”. There might have been a rich ecosystem of places from where I could buy said product. But Amazon sells it for X-Y, where Y is frankly not a large amount of money, but it’s non-zero. What they’ve basically done is they’ve purchased your business for that amount of money Y. I understand that, because money saved one place can be spent somewhere else. But what’s less excusable is that they’ve purchased your loyalty and your love. Endeavor to value your love less cheaply. And your last paragraph shows that you don’t understand what they understand all too well, and it’s the nature of why they’re such bad players.

      That ecosystem that used to be robust, that used to exist outside in the world, it now exists mostly inside of Amazon. There are some places where they make a bit of profit and they use that profit to fuel some losses, which destroy competitors. Once those competitors are gone, they can turn to other competitors in other businesses and destroy them too. Once they have no competition in a certain market, they can start making profit because they can then dictate the prices. They might do that by raising prices to the consumer, or they might do that by lowering what they pay to the sellers, and but they’ll wait to do that until the sellers have no recourse. And no one will care, because hey I still get it pretty cheap. The products are worse and the selection is worse than it would have been. But no one notices, because there’s nothing to compare against. Amazon is very cynical. For a low low cost of Y, they bought you. Personally, I’m more expensive than that.”

  2. Inept or corrupt?

    Apple hasn’t distributed bribes, oops “campaign contributions” to the degree its competitors have and Apple was the last big tech company to give in to the NSA (after Job’s death). I bet there are other ways Apple hasn’t sufficiently sucked up to the politicians as well. Maybe this lawsuit, the congressional hearings, and even some of the slanted anti-Apple media bias is some kind of punishment. The AG doesn’t care if he wastes taxpayer money on frivolous lawsuits. Wasting taxpayer money is the DOJ’s raison d’être. But frivolous or not this hits Apple where it hurts. Apple is going to do what it takes, grease the appropriate palms, to keep the government off its back if that’s what this is about.

    1. You forgot the plunge from $700 to $400 per share. Did the feds perhaps orchestrate that as well? Apple execs lost hundreds of millions in compensation last year. What better way to lean on a company?

  3. The more this case progresses, the more I have to scratch my head. Not because of how illogical the DOJ is for thinking they have case, but because I cannot figure out what their hidden motives are.

  4. Ok, what is stopping them from going back to the good old days referred to as “a mess.” This is another political Kabuki show and a waste of money and time trying to shake down Apple and others. Maybe we should call it “Kabuki Extortion”.

  5. is this the normal m.o. for trying anti-trust cases – i.e. trial by judge instead of trial by jury?

    did apple choose this format or was it an arbitrary decision by d.o.j.?

    even with some positive turns in the past week or so, the fact that the judgment will be made by one person – a judge after all – leaves me with a sickening foreboding,

    for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, these are evil days.

      1. Yeah, I’ve heard of them. They just recently concocted a “tax” where there was none in order to pave for the way for a horrible law rammed through congress by absolute morons and signed by an unprepared fool who probably thought it was his golf scorecard (huge numbers in every box).

        When Obamacare implodes and people literally die because of the Obamacare fiasco, remember the Supreme Court’s hands are covered in the blood resulting from mismanaged, rationed healthcare, too.

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