For Apple, much to gain in fighting U.S. DOJ in ebooks case

“Apple Inc couldn’t have been too surprised on Wednesday when a judge slammed the company for violating antitrust laws over e-book pricing – the judge had warned in May that she believed the government could prove its case,” Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta report for Reuters.

“Accused of playing a central role in a conspiracy with publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices, Apple says it has done nothing wrong,” Levine and Gupta report. “But in addition to defending its honor, the U.S. tech giant has strategic reasons not to settle and to continue fighting the decision as it has said it will do. Chief among those is preserving its negotiating power in future content deals and its ability to control every aspect of its online stores, including pricing.”

Levine and Gupta report, “Settling with the government would likely tie Apple to increased oversight, along with legal restrictions of most-favored nation clauses in the e-book market, said Chris Compton, a California antitrust lawyer who represents tech companies. ‘Apple may have well felt they needed to protect their ability to continue using that kind of clause in their other product lines,’ Compton said.”

“Apple even got some favorable language in the ruling by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York, who stressed she did not intend to issue a blanket ban on specific tools Apple employs – like most favored nations clauses — from a company’s arsenal,” Levine and Gupta report. “She also took pains to limit her opinion to the specific events in the e-book market in 2010.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Where’s the proof that Apple conspired with publishers on ebook pricing? – July 10, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple ruling could allow U.S. government to monitor, interfere with future Apple negotiations – July 10, 2013
Judge Denise Cote likely wrote most of her U.S.A. v. Apple ebooks case decision before the trial – July 10, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: NY judge rules Apple colluded to fix ebook prices, led illegal conspiracy, violated U.S. antitrust laws – July 10, 2013


  1. One thing that I have never understand is why antitrust laws consider music and books to be essentially the same as other items. Any two randomly selected CDs or books are not interchangeable in commodity fashion like light bulbs or paper. In this sense the monopoly could be said, not to rest with the individual retailer, but with the publisher who has exclusive rights to the work, which is unique and cannot really be substituted with another work.

    1. That has been a confusion for ne from the start in this whole thing, Each book is unique and the sole (monopoly) rights rest with one party that has the absolute right to set the selling price. Books are not fungible. Both authors Dan Brown and Danielle Steele write very popular books, but I will probably never go to a bookstore seeking a Dan Brown title and leave with a Danielle Steele book.

      All the publishers did was say “We’re not going to continue selling Amazon cases of books at x dollars and leave it to Amazon to get rid of them at any price they choose. We see the need for a vibrant marketplace with many retail sellers, so we will set the price at which the books are to be sold by our agents, the retail sellers.”

      All Apple did was stipulate in their contract that they would never be forced by the publishers to ask a higher price for the books they were selling than any other seller of the same book.

      Where is the law that was broken? It needs to be changed.

  2. And they still have done nothing wrong…
    Amazon in the other hand is doing wrong by selling books under the cost effectively creating the rise in price when Apple entered the market.

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