Apple to Appeal Ebook Antitrust Case Loss

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Apple doesn't plan on accepting Judge Denise Cote's ruling that it conspired to artificially raise ebook prices and plans to appeal. Judge Cote issued her ruling Wednesday morning in favor of the Department of Justice and their claims that Apple was the ring leader in a conspiracy with publishers to force retailers into higher book prices.

Apple: We'll appeal Judge Cotes antitrust rulingApple: We'll appeal Judge Cotes antitrust ruling

Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD,

Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations. When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon's monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. We've done nothing wrong and we will appeal the judge's decision.

The U.S. Department of Justice accused Apple and book publishers of colluding to push retailers out of the wholesale model where book sellers set their own book prices in favor of an agency model where publishers set book prices and retailers take a cut.

While Apple sees the ruling as a blow for the book market, the DOJ called it a win for consumers. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer stated,

This result is a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically. Companies cannot ignore the antitrust laws when they believe it is in their economic self-interest to do so. This decision by the court is a critical step in undoing the harm caused by Apple's illegal actions.

The next step in the case is a trial for damages. Depending on the outcome of that, Apple could be facing damages that reach deep into the company's pockets. Assuming Apple wins a reversal in an appeal, however, the fines it could get hit with as damages will go away.

Since Apple hasn't had time to file its appeal documents there aren't any hearing dates set yet.

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The DOJ's real message, whether it intends it or not, is that it's OK for Amazon to use its monopoly power to control the book market, but it isn't OK for Apple and other companies to actively try to change that.

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I’d like to see Apple say, “OK, we’ll give you what you want.” Then use its huge profits to absolutely destroy Amazon’s e-book market by selling books at a loss that Amazon just can’t absorb. Say, automatically just price every book $1 less or even 50% less than Amazon does. Then do the same with an e-ink reader. Not that it would be a good business practice. But just for the satisfaction of taking a middle finger and sticking it right in their eye.


Apple needs to hire Ted Olsen or David Boeis in order to best design and captain the appeals strategy for an ultimate US Supreme case.


I hope Apple will decide to not only decide here & now to spend a huge fraction of its cash hoard (many many tens of billions of $$ - whatever it may take) on paying all fines and penalties that might accompany fighting this case to the bitter end and never accepting an expedient retreat, but will also decide here & now tto fight all shareholder objections/rebellions/lawsuits against this crusade to have a last-stand on this question in the USSC even to (and beyond) the point of an intra-Apple management coup d’état by those outraged shareholders.


(Arrrgghh!!! How I miss the TMO Comment editor function!!!)


Of course then the DOJ would go after Apple for antitrust violations or some such thing


Asst US AG Bill Baer: This result is a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically.

Unless, of course, publishers don’t release the e-book version for days, weeks, months after the paper version(s). Then, customers who prefer e-books lose.  Also, to modify the rest of his quote…

[s]Companies[/s] Government cannot ignore the antitrust laws when they believe it is in their [s]economic[/s] political self-interest to do so.

I’m not steeped in such law, but how is it that the government hasn’t prosecuted Amazon for their monopoly power? Many local bookstores, and some chains have gone out of business. Publishers have folded or been forced to merge. Competition isn’t just about price. What about convenience and selection, personal service, etc. from local bookstores that are now gone? Authors cannot get bids from publishers who are now gone. IMO, these are losses to the public too.


TMO, looks like [s]strikethrough[/s] doesnn’t work.


@jfbiii: “Then use its huge profits to absolutely destroy Amazon’s e-book market by selling books at a loss that Amazon just can’t absorb”

Well then Amazon, er, um, I mean the DOJ will sue Apple for undercutting competitors out of business.


Were customers complaining about Apple’s “price fixing”? Not to my knowledge. The pretense is that it’s in the consumer’s best interests, so this really smells like phony reasoning from the DOJ, to me.

And to me, this is not unlike the government demanding that Apple return all of their offshore money to the U.S., because our government’s corporate tax code/rape business model is completely fair.

The cynic in me would love to see jfbiii’s suggestion go into play: let’s see Apple just go along with what’s “fair for consumers”, and leverage their massive profitability against Amazon, who is just barely able to turn a profit. The cascading affect will most surely be not only crushing their presence as book retailers, but also destroying their Kindle market.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I actually like BurmaYank’s plan. Being committed to a mental health facility would certainly make for a quick exit by Cook, and accention of the one true and only leader for Apple. Cookie fancies himself “crazy like a fox”, although he is merely conventional, and a level above his natural Peter Principle position. He is, unfortunately for rooters on all sides of this, not batsh*t crazy enough to go this route.


@xmattingly: Well first there’s a bunch of class action suits filed against Apple for ebook price fixing, So there’s at least a few people who were complaining. And then I was complaining about how I didn’t like the way Apple was price fixing an entire industry.

So yes xmattingly, there were people complaining about Apple’s price fixing.


I guess I don’t hang on your every word, daemon. smile

Not sure how I missed news about a class action suit, but maybe I just don’t care. I favor content creators, anyway - because it IS authors who get screwed by the wholesale business model, which is entirely unnecessary for consumers. There are many other ways around pricey literature. I don’t suppose any of these class action idiots ever heard of a library?


There are class action lawsuits against Apple for this iBooks issue. I don’t know which came first but there are consumers crying foul.

The mainstream media seems to think that Apple is being obstinate and should just settle and move on. That there’s no percentage in fighting further as they feel Apple has no chance of winning on appeal. The feeling is, the public doesn’t care, and it won’t make a difference as far as sales are concerned so why waste the time?

I tend to agree.

Lee Dronick

  I favor content creators, anyway - because it IS authors who get screwed by the wholesale business model

I wonder if social media and e-books has us at the place where an author can self promote and publish their books and be a success. I suppose that many of them still have contracts with publishers.

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