Judge Denise Cote scolds Apple for being ‘unrepentant’ in e-book antitrust case

“A federal judge took Apple to task on Friday for showing no contrition about potentially defrauding its customers of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Joab Jackson reports for IDG News Service. “‘None of the publishers nor Apple have expressed any remorse’ about colluding to fix electronic book prices in 2010, said District Judge Denise Cote, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of New York. ‘They are, in a word, unrepentant.’ Additionally, Cote expressed dissatisfaction that Apple had not taken any steps to modify its business practices, such as establishing internal compliance monitoring, to prevent it from undertaking similar behavior in the future.”

Jackson reports, “Despite Apple’s apparent hubris, Cote said she wanted to make the remediation as narrow as possible to minimize unnecessary government intervention in the e-book market. The injunction should only try to restore competitive pricing in the electronic book market, to prevent Apple from colluding with publishers in the future, and to award appropriate — though not overly punitive — damages to e-book consumers, Cote said. She stated she would rather not establish an external monitor to watch Apple, expressing hope that the injunction be structured in a way that an external watchdog would not be needed. Nor did she wish to force Apple to change its policies on how it runs its app store.”

“In response, Apple chiefly argued that, because it plans to appeal the court’s decision, the court should stay all further actions. Apple argued that it has compelling reasons for believing that an appeal would be successful for the company. Cote declined to place a stay on proceedings, however, expressing doubt that Apple had that strong of a case.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is unrepentant because they did nothing wrong, genius.

Apple needs to move on to a higher court where they will hopefully run into a judge who can look at the evidence, or lack thereof, objectively.

54 Comments

  1. ‘hubris’ is an interestingly revealing word on the part of this mountebank judge. The iOS dictionary on my iPad defines its Greek origin as meaning ‘excessive pride towards or defiance of the gods.’

    One has to wonder just which god (or goddess) she sees herself as being the embodiment of. Gosh, Apple needs to careful, lest they stand accused of Blasphemy by Her Divinity !

  2. I believe prices went up 1) because publishers were willing to release more titles and release them sooner at a higher price. 2) When a monopolist (Amazon) is in the market, it is willing to take losses to force out competition and subsidize the losses elsewhere 3) Using the judge’s logic Apple should be sued for increasing the ASP in the tablet market when it introduced the iPad mini at a higher price than the Amazon and Google tablets.

    What the judge doesn’t realize is that books are essentially free. Just go to you public library or in many cases you can get electronic versions – though you may have to wait your turn. As soon as a new book I want to read appears in the library catalog, I place a reservation and they email me when its available. They even move it to the branch near me from another branch , if necessary.

    1. Prices went up because publishers realized they screwed up with their original contracts and pricing model with Amazon, a model that does not permit them to make money on their products. Amazon doesn’t seem to care about making money; just getting more shipments out than the other guys.

  3. “Apple is unrepentant because they did nothing wrong, genius.

    Apple needs to move on to a higher court where they will hopefully run into a judge who can look at the evidence, or lack thereof, objectively.”

    OUCH!!!

    If I were Cote and read this MDN Take, I would retire effective immediately!

  4. Lady Justice may be blind, but apparently this judge took off the blindfold, burned it, took the ashes and smoked it.

    Then after all that ruled against Apple. I see an appeal that wil overturn this verdict (let’s hope).

  5. The longstanding oxymoron is of course, military intelligence. Under Obama, Holder, Cote et al, we now have replaced this oxymoron with the Department of Justice. In particular, Holder makes 1984 credible. It wasn’t Cote that launched this ridiculous case, it was the Obama régime. She just enabled it, come what may.

  6. Judge Cote apparently doesn’t understand the free enterprise system. It is perfectly legal for Apple (or any business) to consider RAISING prices. This happens ALL THE TIME in the public markets of the United States. This is particularly true when Apple didn’t have a big enough share of market that would imply that they had pricing power.

    I have seen estimates that Amazon held about 90% of the e-book market when Apple was trying to RAISE prices. Apple never had a big enough share of the market to warrant the charge of having committed a Sherman Anti-Trust violation.

    Judge Cote needs to learn about the free enterprise system. When Standard Oil of New Jersey was developing the business practices that caused Congress to create the Sherman Anti Trust Act, Standard Oil’s President John Rockerfeller used low prices to hold off the competition, as well as making behind the scenes deals designed to control the supplies of the product. After he ran off most of the competitors, he raised prices.

    This was quite similar to Amazon’s attempts to trap book authors and publishers into low profit deals that required them to do business only with Amazon. Come on Judge. Get your head in the game. Apple was helping book authors and publishers to get a fair return on their work. This made it possible for Apple to get more authors to consider selling with them. It is perfectly normal for a business to set up deals with suppliers.

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