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Old 07-12-2013, 09:18 AM   #256
DiapDealer
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Those who had Kindles at the time can easily look at their purchase history and SEE how much they paid. I listed my new-releases purchases in another thread; and very few were 9.99 at that time. Now granted, I don't read a lot of stuff from the NYT best seller list (at least not expressly because it was on the list), so everyone's mileage might vary. The point is: the idea that there was ever a time that ALL (or even most) newly released ebooks were being sold at 9.99 is myth being perpetuated by people who need it to be true for their vendetta (or are too lazy to do the research necessary). When I got my first Kindle in 2009, my new-release purchases were costing me $11 - $12 on average. A couple were $9.99 (and a couple were $15). I remember being miffed about not seeing any 9.99 ebooks I wanted to read.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:23 AM   #257
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All true.
But...
US antitrust law has a lot more flexibility in its "remedies" toolkit than just fines.
Especially when dealing with companies with cashflows bigger than your typical small country.

If Apple could have gotten out of this just by writing a check they would've settled along with the rest of the gang. But as ringleaders and repeat colluders, the feds wanted more from Apple than a promise not to misbehave again. They asked for 5 years of day to day monitoring of Apple dealmaking activity. It's not impossible to collude with federal lawyers and beancounters tracking your every move but it certainly makes it trickier. And a third offense might bring out the big guns...

There is no indication the judge intends to penalize Apple much beyond the DOJ settlement terms but...she can and she could. Given the evidence the DOJ presented she can arguably apply an ATT solution as an alternative or supplement to monitoring.

From here on out Apple needs to be "wewy, wewy caweful..."
I'm out of my depth here, but I just don't see anything huge happening. Monitoring may be onerous for Apple, but is it really a big deal?

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... she can arguably apply an ATT solution as an alternative or supplement to monitoring...
You mean as in AT&T? As in break up Apple into smaller companies? I just can't picture this. I think Apple should be punished (and beyond any simple monetary gain they achieved by colluding), but I just don't see in any way them breaking up the company.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:18 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Those who had Kindles at the time can easily look at their purchase history and SEE how much they paid. I listed my new-releases purchases in another thread; and very few were 9.99 at that time. Now granted, I don't read a lot of stuff from the NYT best seller list (at least not expressly because it was on the list), so everyone's mileage might vary. The point is: the idea that there was ever a time that ALL (or even most) newly released ebooks were being sold at 9.99 is myth being perpetuated by people who need it to be true for their vendetta (or are too lazy to do the research necessary). When I got my first Kindle in 2009, my new-release purchases were costing me $11 - $12 on average. A couple were $9.99 (and a couple were $15). I remember being miffed about not seeing any 9.99 ebooks I wanted to read.
I never bought any books from Amazon before agency pricing took place, but I was often buying new ebooks from Fictionwise at list price with 100% store rebate that effectively brought my price down to paperback prices or less. All that went away after 4/1/10, and I calculated that buying the same items a year or later would have cost me 3-4 times as much as I paid when I could take advantage of the sales.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:28 PM   #259
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I never bought any books from Amazon before agency pricing took place, but I was often buying new ebooks from Fictionwise at list price with 100% store rebate that effectively brought my price down to paperback prices or less. All that went away after 4/1/10, and I calculated that buying the same items a year or later would have cost me 3-4 times as much as I paid when I could take advantage of the sales.
Oh, you'll get no argument from me that agency caused prices to go up across the board. Preaching to the choir. I'm only commenting on the misconception that there was a $9.99 "price point" for ALL newly released ebooks before agency. Pure myth.
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:02 PM   #260
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I'm out of my depth here, but I just don't see anything huge happening. Monitoring may be onerous for Apple, but is it really a big deal?


You mean as in AT&T? As in break up Apple into smaller companies? I just can't picture this. I think Apple should be punished (and beyond any simple monetary gain they achieved by colluding), but I just don't see in any way them breaking up the company.
I don't see it yet.
There are no hints of it in the ruling. Or the hinted settlement terms.
But legally, the judge could order Apple to divest iBooks or, since they used appstore access to coerce Random House into doing business with iBooks, both.

Apple is playing with fire.
They should have settled before it got even this far.
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:21 PM   #261
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I don't see it yet.
There are no hints of it in the ruling. Or the hinted settlement terms.
But legally, the judge could order Apple to divest iBooks or, since they used appstore access to coerce Random House into doing business with iBooks, both.

...
Even if Apple was ordered to divest iBooks, I don't see that as a big problem for Apple.

Now the appstore would be a problem (but I highly doubt it would happen). If Apple continues their illegal practices, then take it away; what oither choice is there?
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:27 PM   #262
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How could the iBookstore be profitable if it was divested?

Presumably it would have to transact with the App Store on normal commercial terms, as under the terms of the App Store its app couldn't appear on iOS devices and maintain its own payment gateway.

At the same time it would have to compete with Amazon, Google and B&N on price.

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Old 07-12-2013, 03:35 PM   #263
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I know you're having to defend your views a lot, and I nearly didn't raise this because I may regret getting involved in this thread, but there's one thing I really don't understand.

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This is not heating oil, or milk or bread. There is no public harm in selling a James Patterson novel for $14.99 instead of $9.99.

There is great public harm in driving all the other book retailers out of business with predatory pricing.
I agree that ebooks are a luxury. Given that, I can see an argument for saying there is no public harm in selling a James Patterson novel for $14.99

But, if there is no public harm in selling at a high price, why is there a public harm in driving other retailers out of business?
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:42 PM   #264
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How could the iBookstore be profitable if it was divested?

Presumably it would have to transact with the App Store on normal commercial terms, as under the terms of the App Store its app couldn't appear on iOS devices and maintain its own payment gateway.

At the same time it would have to compete with Amazon, Google and B&N on price.

Graham
Isn't that exactly what Apple did to Nook, Kindle and (especially) Kobo?
(Plus iBooks didn't start to get any traction at all until they cracked down on the in-app sales.)
Another reason that any attempt to fully redress Apple's ill-gotten gains can splash onto the appstore.
It's a big can of worms they are trying to keep a lid on.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:46 PM   #265
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Isn't that exactly what Apple did to Nook, Kindle and (especially) Kobo?
Yes, that's my point. The difference, though, is that iBooks doesn't currently have a separate store to maintain a business outside the iOS ecosystem, which is why a divested iBookstore doesn't look like a viable business to me.

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Old 07-12-2013, 05:54 PM   #266
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Yes, that's my point. The difference, though, is that iBooks doesn't currently have a separate store to maintain a business outside the iOS ecosystem, which is why a divested iBookstore doesn't look like a viable business to me.

Graham
Oh, it could be if it acted like a real bookselling business (multiplatform apps, for starters) instead of a device feature. It just would have to actually *compete* for consumer's money.

You don't need massive market share to make money off ebooks.

Your point does explain why Apple had to tilt the playing field in its favor with unsavory and illegal tactics. Apple was late to the ebook party and didn't want to earn a seat at the table fair and square.

And why divestiture would be a fitting punishment.

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Old 07-12-2013, 08:29 PM   #267
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If these were "rouge" employees that broke the law, then Apple should have argued that.
But they weren't rogue. For that reason, even if still with the company years from now when appeals are complete, Apple will not discipline them.

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Are you really saying that Apple should be saying "Well, the main conspirators are no longer with the company. Can we go now?"
I didn't say that, so it should not be in quotation marks. Back in #236, the post you are commenting upon, I offered Apple no advice. The company has hired far better legal advisers than me.

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If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
It's not a criminal matter, and there is no "you" who can possibly do time, or even be fined. No one is going to be punished except, slightly, Apple stockholders.

To personalize it, I involuntarily own thousands of dollars of Apple stock through a pension plan I have contributed to since 1982. Why should I, who couldn't have possibly had anything to do with the conspiracy, have to pay even a dime to people who voluntarily bought a book at a price they knew up front? What about co-founder Steve Wozniak, Apple's Mr. Nice Guy? I'll bet he has hundreds of times more Apple stock than me, and also has nothing to do with it.

If anyone is a victim of high eBook prices, it is the lower middle class taxpayer who can't afford to buy eBooks, but is forced, through taxes, to pay the sky-high eBook prices charged public libraries.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:01 PM   #268
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It's not a criminal matter, and there is no "you" who can possibly do time, or even be fined. No one is going to be punished except, slightly, Apple stockholders.
Correct.
Luckily for the witnesses for Apple and the publishers, given the judge's opinion of their veracity.

As for the stockholders, they are losing more paper value out of the market's irrational expectations for iPhone than Apple would ever pay even if they got smacked with everything they've got coming. It is, of course, far less than they've made off the same market's past irrationality for the stock.

The stock market giveth and it taketh back.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:49 AM   #269
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It's not a criminal matter, and there is no "you" who can possibly do time, or even be fined. No one is going to be punished except, slightly, Apple stockholders.
The lack of ability to imprison or kill corporations over criminal matters is one of the reasons corporations should not be considered legal "persons."

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To personalize it, I involuntarily own thousands of dollars of Apple stock through a pension plan I have contributed to since 1982. Why should I, who couldn't have possibly had anything to do with the conspiracy, have to pay even a dime to people who voluntarily bought a book at a price they knew up front?
By that logic, any public corporation could commit all manner of illegal acts and argue that they shouldn't be punished because the shareholders are innocent.

If your pension fund managers invest your money in organizations that can't be bothered to operate within the law, then you may have grounds for a suit against them. That doesn't mean the people who were wronged shouldn't be compensated for it.

Being willing to buy a book at $15 doesn't mean it's legal for anyone to sell the book at that price, not when the only reason there's no acceptable book at $10 is that competitors have agreed not to offer any at that price. We make purchases in good faith that the suppliers are selling according to the terms of the law; when that's not the case, refunds are a reasonable compensation for the overcharging.

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If anyone is a victim of high eBook prices, it is the lower middle class taxpayer who can't afford to buy eBooks, but is forced, through taxes, to pay the sky-high eBook prices charged public libraries.
Since I am below the "lower middle class taxpayer" income, and I can afford ebooks, I can't believe that anyone who's paying notable taxes towards libraries can't afford ebooks.

At this point, being able to afford ebooks and a reader isn't a matter of money but know-how. Even people at the edge of total poverty can afford a used Sony-300 ($25 at Amazon), and there's no shortage of free, quality ebooks, starting with the Gutenberg collection. Not everyone has the technical skills required; not everyone has an interest in digital books; not everyone would be able to use one without breaking it in a matter of days. But the devices themselves are no longer very expensive, especially if all one wants to do with it is read.

The travesty of rights-erosions and high prices being inflicted on libraries have nothing to do with whether the average library patron or other member of the community could afford ebooks.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:39 AM   #270
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Why should I, who couldn't have possibly had anything to do with the conspiracy, have to pay even a dime to people who voluntarily bought a book at a price they knew up front?
If Apple and the publishers illegally colluded to raise prices, which Apple has found guilty doing (and I expect will not be reversed upon appeal), then you are the unwitting beneficiary of profits gained by wrong-doing, and if the legal system chooses to remedy this by heavily fining Apple, any shareholders will lose on those ill-gotten gains. Typically, there will be some remedy for this in the guise of a class action lawsuit against Apple and its board of directors for allowing the management to commit illegal acts, where the people filing the class action lawsuit claim that the stock was artificially inflated due to the illegal actions. If you continue to hold Apple stock, you may get double or triple whammies from the original fines, stock price drops, and paying out on the class action lawsuit. Sucks to be you, but it's no different from when Citi Group and other banks got fined in recent years for their misdeeds.

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