Can Apple clear its name in the e-books appeal?

“When Apple goes before a federal appeals court on Dec. 15, trying to overturn the ebooks price-fixing judgment the Justice Department won against it in July 2013, there will be an elephant in the room,” Roger Parloff reports for Fortune. “That would be Amazon, the much admired and greatly feared ­discounter, which is not a party in the case. Yet the unposed question hovering over the proceedings will be: Did the regulators target the right bully?”

“When the curtain rose on the iBooks Store on April 3, 2010, so did prices industrywide for most new-release ebooks, to the tune of about 17%,” Parloff reports. “That dramatic price rise—and a letter Amazon wrote to regulators two months earlier — led the Justice Department and 33 state attorneys general to sue Apple and five publishing houses for horizontal price-fixing in violation of the ­Sherman Act. In July 2013, after a three-week trial, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of Manhattan ruled against Apple.”

“This is the stain on its reputation that Apple hopes the appeals court will wash away. The man at the center of the dispute, Apple’s Cue, 50, has agreed, in a Fortune exclusive, to grant his first press interview on the subject,” Parloff reports. “‘We feel we have to fight for the truth,’ says Cue. ‘Luckily, Tim feels exactly like I do,’ he continues, referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook, ‘which is: You have to fight for your principles no matter what. Because it’s just not right.’ …’If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it again,’ he says. ‘I’d just take better notes.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: In the interest of justice and truth (both of which seem to be in woefully short supply lately), the appeals court should overrule U.S. Federal Puppet Denise Cote’s wrongheaded, baseless, evidence-free decision.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
In pretrial view, judge says leaning toward U.S. DOJ over Apple in e-books case – May 24, 2013
Lawyers have complained for years that Judge Denise Cote pre-judges cases before she enters the courtroom – August 14, 2013

Apple $450 million e-book settlement gets final court approval – November 21, 2014
Apple $450 million e-book settlement wins court approval – August 1, 2014
U.S. Federal Puppet Denise Cote says she’s troubled by Apple $450 million e-books settlement deal – July 24, 2014
U.S. Federal Puppet Denise Cote: Apple cannot escape U.S. states’ e-book antitrust cases – April 15, 2014
U.S. Federal Puppet Denise Cote: ‘Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition’ – January 16, 2014
Judge Denise Cote denies Apple request block her friend as ‘antitrust compliance monitor’ – January 13, 2014
Antitrust monitor Bromwich rebuts Apple accusations of ‘unconstitutional’ investigation – December 31, 2013
Apple seeks to freeze its U.S. e-books ‘antitrust monitor’ – December 15, 2013
The persecution of Apple: Is the U.S. government’s ebook investigation out of control? – December 10, 2013
Apple’s Star Chamber: An abusive judge and her prosecutor friend besiege the tech maker – December 5, 2013
Apple takes aim not just at court-ordered e-books monitor, but also at U.S. District Judge Denise Cote herself – December 2, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge Denise Cote assigns DOJ monitor in Apple ebook price-fixing case – October 17, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge issues injunction against Apple in ebooks antitrust case; largely in line with what DOJ wanted – September 6, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge Denise Cote says Apple needs third-party supervision after ‘blatant’ ebook price fixing – August 28, 2013


    1. I seriously doubt that. Bezo’s a tough cookie who tactically defeated state governments by avoiding sales taxes for over a decade. He used this to fund his drive for monopoly status in various markets (books included). When he achieves monopoly status is when the pricing screws will be turned on Amazon customers.

  1. Apple will not right this wrong unless Apple’s legal team wakes up and starts arguing the case on the underlying facts and definitions. They’ve consistently argued it on nebulous concepts and don’t even address the true fundamentals of what is going on.

    Apple’s legal team allowed both the DOJ and the Judge to apply the wrong definitions to Apple’s actions without any protest from Apple’s lawyers whatsoever! The DOJ and the Judge got those wrong definitions from the misguided public forums and those companies protesting Apple’s actions. The DOJ and the Judge should have known better. Maybe they did and just don’t care because the case is going the DOJ’s way. However, Apple’s lawyers should have worked diligently and protested loudly to correct these inaccuracies. Apple’s lawyers did not do so.

    Unless Apple’s legal team wakes up, I don’t see the ruling going Apple’s way.

    A miracle could happen, but I doubt it.

    1. I suspect Apple’s legal team knows much more about antitrust law and trial procedure than you do. I even suspect Judge Cote and the DOJ know more about antitrust law and trial procedure than you do.

  2. There was so much evidence and testimony that proved Apple was not the bully in this case. But as Cote admitted even before the trial started, she said Apple was guilty. I find that disturbing right from the beginning. The judge is not supposed to make any determination until after hearing all the testimony and looking at all the evidence. She did NONE of this and constantly discounted all the evidence and testimony from Apple through out the trial. Most legal pros said Apple was NOT the bully and yet she ruled otherwise as she predetermined even before the trial started. That in itself should be a big check against that ruling in the appeals court. After several months however Amazon has proven even more that it is the bully and the monopoly as it has limited sales, delayed shippments, threatened authors and sellers to do it there way or the highway and much more. I just hope the appeals court judges are not the dumbass puppet that cote was and can rule fairly which in this case would be to overturn cote’s stupid ruling.

    1. The underlying FACT may be that none of the push the publishers made for Agency pricing would have succeeded without Apple’s involvement, plus the evidence that they understood that it was a plan to fight Amazon collectively counts against them. As the big publishers represented about 80% of published books for sale at any point in recent time, the grouping (including Apple unfortunately) constituted a provider/supplier monopoly well within the definition of a illegal monopoly.

  3. How did Judge Cote manage to fit Apple into a scenario of horizontal price-fixing in violation of the ­Sherman Act?

    For that to be possible, Apple would have to be a publishing house.

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