Quoted: The case against Apple

“The publishers needed a facilitator and a go-between . . . a company large enough to give the publishers the confidence that their conspiracy would prove successful. And that company was Apple.”

— Lawrence Buterman, Justice Department attorney, in opening arguments Monday in a federal trial over alleged price fixing of e-books. The government alleges Apple and at least three major publishers conspired to raise the prices of e-books when the iPad was released in 2010, in an effort to undermine Amazon’s grip on the e-book market. “Consumers in this country paid hundreds of millions of dollars more for e-books than they would have,” Buterman said. The feds are bolstering their case with what they say are damning comments and emails from then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Apple denies any wrongdoing, and says Jobs’ words are being taken out of context, and Apple attorney Orin Snyder decried the unfairness of using Jobs’ words against him when he’s no longer around to defend himself. Besides, Snyder said, Jobs was way too savvy to implicate himself so obviously: “To believe that (Jobs’s) statements are direct, unambiguous evidence, admissions of a conspiracy, you have to credit the notion that he, in full public view and to his authorized biographer (whose book) he knew would be read by millions of people, made statements that can be interpreted in no other way than as unambiguous admissions of the price-fixing conspiracy charged in this case.” The trial continues today in New York.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images


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