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Old 06-03-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
6charlong
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Apple eBook price fixing case going to court

There is a long thread on this topic already but reading clear through it is daunting. I thought it might be worth starting a new discussion just as the case is going to court. Is it possible that Apple is taking an "they made me do it" defense, blaming Amazon for the whole thing? Sounds like it from this article in the Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...027_story.html
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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Apple got a late start with ebooks. Since they don't like selling things on the cheap, they colluded with the publishers to force everyone else to sell at the same high prices; thereby leveling the playing field to something Apple could live with.

Ultimate loser? the consumer!
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Apple got a late start with ebooks. Since they don't like selling things on the cheap, they colluded with the publishers to force everyone else to sell at the same high prices; thereby leveling the playing field to something Apple could live with.

Ultimate loser? the consumer!
This is why I tell people never ever to buy an eBook from Apple and that includes free eBooks. Apple should not sell a single eBook since it was their idea to screw the consumer and we are still being screwed today.
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
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Given that it would almost certainly be cheaper for them to pay the fine, as the publishers involved in the case have done, it would seem reasonable to think that they believe that they have a good chance of being found innocent.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Given that it would almost certainly be cheaper for them to pay the fine, as the publishers involved in the case have done, it would seem reasonable to think that they believe that they have a good chance of being found innocent.
Actually, their problem is they're afraid accepting DOJ supervision over ebooks will spread to their *other* content operations. (They used appstore access to force Random House to join the conspiracy.)

They are hoping that the judge won't require the same kind of broad oversight. Or maybe they hope they can delay iimplementation of the penalties. Or, they just might be deluded enough to think the evidence can be spun to mean something other than what it means.

Here, you decide:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/145486131/...Opening-Slides

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57...against-apple/

From the legal standpoint the case is simple: executives from 6 publishers held discussion with Apple that resulted in an agreement for 5 of them to raise ebook prices to the exact same level at the exact same time. Coordination through Apple is documented. Price increase as a result of the coordinated action documented. That equals price fixing under American law.

There is documented evidence that Penguin, for one, said it would not join unless there were three or more others and there is documented evidence that Apple reassured them that everybody else was on board. (Except Random House, on advise of counsel apparently, bowed out the day before the launch.) Afterwards, Penguin asked B&N to put pressure on RH to join the conspiracy (which they willingly did) and Apple refused to accepta Randome House iPad app until RH signed up for iBooks.

Apple's entire response has been to cover their ears and chant: "Amazon is evil. Amazon is evil. Amazon is evil."

But since Amazon was not a party to the conspiracy, whether they are evil or not is irrelevant. That mudslinging part of the trial shouldn't last long. After that, there may be a lot of executives pleading the Fifth on grounds of self-incrimination.
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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You only plead the 5th if you are guilty and so they either plead the 5th and we know they are guilty or they tell us what's what and we'll still know they are guilty.
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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You only plead the 5th if you are guilty and so they either plead the 5th and we know they are guilty or they tell us what's what and we'll still know they are guilty.
Sorry Jon. Pleading the fifth doesn't make guilty. You *really* shouldn't be giving incorrect interpretations of th U.S. Constitution.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:12 PM   #8
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Sorry Jon. Pleading the fifth doesn't make guilty. You *really* shouldn't be giving incorrect interpretations of th U.S. Constitution.
And, for the sake of argument, even if one WERE to accept that there is no reason to take the 5th unless you were guilty, it doesn't not necessarily mean that you are guilty of what you are being accused of at the moment.
You might well take the 5th to avoid incriminating yourself in some unrelated matter that the court isn't even aware of.

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Old 06-03-2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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From the Washington Post article linked in the OP:

Quote:
Apple hopes to bring Amazon into what could be a weeks-long hearing at the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, saying documents currently redacted by Amazon are “potentially embarrassing” and show that the retailing giant had also considered the same pricing model that is now under government scrutiny.
This is the same misdirection that was being used for defense in the original filings. It is not the agency model that is illegal, so there's nothing wrong in Amazon considering using it. It's the collusion to bring about an agency model that is the subject of the antitrust suit.

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Old 06-03-2013, 05:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ApK View Post
And, for the sake of argument, even if one WERE to accept that there is no reason to take the 5th unless you were guilty, it doesn't not necessarily mean that you are guilty of what you are being accused of at the moment.
You might well take the 5th to avoid incriminating yourself in some unrelated matter that the court isn't even aware of.

ApK
SCOTUS agrees.

Quote:
In the 2001 case Ohio v. Reiner, the U.S. Supreme Court held that “a witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The [Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination] serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.”
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:58 PM   #11
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And, for the sake of argument, even if one WERE to accept that there is no reason to take the 5th unless you were guilty, it doesn't not necessarily mean that you are guilty of what you are being accused of at the moment.
You might well take the 5th to avoid incriminating yourself in some unrelated matter that the court isn't even aware of.

ApK
Exactly.
Apple isn't worried about what the DOJ wants to do about iBooks; they are worried about what they'll do about the *rest* of their business. Most notably iOS and the appstore.

This isn't the first case of collusion Apple has been involved in and if there are other "gentlemen's agreements" in place, an exec could easily find themselves admitting to further, unrelated wrong-doing.

We *could* start a pool on how many plead the fifth before the trial ends.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Graham View Post
From the Washington Post article linked in the OP:



This is the same misdirection that was being used for defense in the original filings. It is not the agency model that is illegal, so there's nothing wrong in Amazon considering using it. It's the collusion to bring about an agency model that is the subject of the antitrust suit.

Graham
There are evidently emails between Amazon and the publishers discussing pricing models just before Apple's efforts. Amazon redacted the emails and the judge won't permit them as evidence anyway since Amazon is not part of the lawsuit. Of course, the publishers have the emails and possibly gave them to Apple prior to settling. What Amazon wanted back then is irrelevant now.

In the end, Agency pricing is alive and well in the US. I'm beginning to think that regardless of the lawsuit's outcome Apple still wins.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:44 PM   #13
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In the end, Agency pricing is alive and well in the US. I'm beginning to think that regardless of the lawsuit's outcome Apple still wins.
Oh, unless the judge orders apply Apple to divest iBooks they definitely have won.
They had no presence in ebooks and are now without question the only real alternative to Amazon in the US and one of only two serious challengers on the global scale. No way do they get there without the conspiracy.
The bad publicity will fade with the next "miraculous release" but the 15%-and-growing market share will remain.

The only player that made out better than Apple out of the conspiracy is Amazon. And that because they didn't have to break the law to reap its many benefits.

(The list of losers starts with consumers and goes on from there, most prominently including everybody else in the conspiracy.)

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-03-2013 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:56 PM   #14
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Do you think Steve Jobs had this all planned including the lawsuit and result?
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:02 PM   #15
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Oh, unless the judge orders apply Apple to divest iBooks they definitely have won.
They had no presence in ebooks and are now without question the only real alternative to Amazon in the US and one of only two serious challengers on the global scale. No way do they get there without the conspiracy.
The bad publicity will fade with the next "miraculous release" but the 15%-and-growing market share will remain.

The only player that made out better than Apple out of the conspiracy is Amazon. And that because they didn't have to break the law to reap its many benefits.

(The list of losers starts with consumers and goes on from there, most prominently including everybody else in the conspiracy.)
Well, I don't know where the 15% number comes from, but we have one client--ONE--that is selling well at iBooks. All the rest? Sell about 1 book at iBooks for every 1,000 they sell at Amazon, and every 100~ that they sell at B&N. I don't think that Apple really gives two craps about eBooks, not at all. They were way behind the curve, and have tried to control what real publishers do just as they've endeavored to control app developers.

And, no, I don't think Jobs had it all planned out.

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