A is for: Apple and e-book suit, Amazon and its streaming titles, Adobe and its share buyback

• There’s word from Apple about the Department of Justice lawsuit against it and book publishers over alleged collusion in fixing prices of e-books. “It’s simply not true,” says more than one Apple representative quoted in various reports.

Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble shares have suffered because of the expectation that a switch from agency pricing — in which publishers set e-book prices — back to retailers having control over prices will be a boon for Amazon.com, which has already reportedly said it’s “look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books.”

“This is a huge problem for Barnes & Noble,” Forrester analyst James McQuivey told the Wall Street Journal.

After falling more than 6 percent Thursday, B&N shares are down more than 3 percent Friday, to $10.62 as of this post, amid a broader market sell-off.

Apple, by the way, takes credit for “breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry,” with spokeswoman Natalie Kerris saying (according to Bloomberg) that Apple’s e-bookstore launch “fostered innovation and competition.” As we noted earlier this week, some independent e-book publishers and distributors agree with that assessment. (See Apple and e-book lawsuit: If DOJ prevails, will readers find happy ending?)

• Speaking of Amazon, let’s move beyond words and talk numbers. The world’s largest online retailer has always been coy about its numbers (see The elusive tipping point and other fuzzy math), but Fast Company does some math of its own and comes up with an article titled “Amazon Massively Inflates its Streaming Library Size.” Austin Carr writes that because Amazon counts individual episodes of TV shows, its claim that it has a streaming library of “more than 17,000” shows and movies is a bit (OK, 10 times bigger) of an exaggeration. Carr also brings up the question of the actual number of titles in Netflix’s streaming catalog, saying the number is also a bit fuzzy.

• Finally, Adobe is buying back up to $2 billion in stock by 2015, the San Jose software maker announced Thursday. The move comes as the company has seen its shares rise 19 percent since the beginning of the year, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Adobe shares are off slightly, less than 0.5 percent to about $33.45, as of this post.



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