Apple back in court this week for e-books case; states ask for up to $880 million

The Apple e-books case is in the news with an appellate court hearing Tuesday in Manhattan over whether the company can keep out a court-appointed monitor overseeing the company’s antitrust compliance while the iPad maker challenges the monitor’s appointment.

Apple denies it did anything wrong when it introduced its digital bookstore in 2010 and is fighting to overturn a judge’s decision that the company violated antitrust laws by conspiring to set prices with publishers. The company is also fighting the appointment of the monitor; it won a temporary stay of the court-appointed monitor in January, as the New York Times reported. 

Meanwhile, attorneys general in 33 states are seeking as much as $880 million in damages in the case, Bloomberg said. The Department of Justice’s case did not come with any financial penalties but the judge in the case ruled that Apple was liable to the 33 states that joined the DOJ in its suit.

The attorneys general argue that Apple was the center of a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices and that consumers were harmed.

Above: Apple’s iPad Air and iPad Mini tablets. (Glenn Chapman/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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  • Trixie Davidson

    Consumers were not harmed by Apple or anyone involved in the evolution of ebooks. Additionally it is clear that Apple intended no harm and has been subjected to a witch hunt persecution by the DOJ and in particular Judge Cote. The truth about Cote’s corruption is slowly oozing out and will become a mandatory case study at business and law schools. In the meantime Apple is being picked apart by gossip columnists masquerading as business writers. The states now lined up to sue Apple are hoping to bleed a little easy money from Apple before the entire case is tossed on appeal. The states see the Apple ebook prosecution as a revenue generator, not a quest for justice.

    • Bart

      Could not have said it any better than this. Apple’s ebooks were NOTHING LIKE Amazon’s! They are far more full featured, and had to have a cost a bit more. What is the problem charging more for them? Apple did NOTHING TO BLOCK THE MONOPOLIST AMAZON TITLES on the iPad. What prevented Amazon from continuing to sell it’s dumbed down titles for less? (hint, it wasn’t Apple!)

      Amazon continues to use the entire publishing industry as a LOSS LEADER–Apple gave them a way out of that, and if there was any colluding it, was among the publishers, not Apple. They offer books BELOW COST to get you to buy OTHER products. Duh.

      Amazon is and was the monopolist. They already ruined the brick and mortar bookstore business, and was ABUSING the ‘ebook’ business, just waiting to jack up prices, Standard Oil style. Textbook monopolies are not built on higher prices, but on LOWER ones.

      For the life of me, I can’t figure out how or why the DOJ bought this suit, other than that it was (well known) that Amazon PUSHED for it.

      They might want to consider having Amazon pay TAXES first. How they still get away not charging them in most states is quite telling. Now they are buying up washington D.C. media outlets and not just paying your senators and representatives.

      I think Wall Street will be happy when Amazon runs all the small stores out of business for good.

      • RussellL

        “Apple’s ebooks were NOTHING LIKE Amazon’s! They are far more full featured, and had to have a cost a bit more. What is the problem charging more for them?”

        If Apple’s ebooks are so much better, why couldn’t Apple just charge their customers more and not worry about the competition?

        “Apple did NOTHING TO BLOCK THE MONOPOLIST AMAZON TITLES on the iPad.”

        Who said Apple was blocking Amazon titles?

        “What prevented Amazon from continuing to sell it’s dumbed down titles for less? (hint, it wasn’t Apple!)”

        It was Apple AND the publishers!

        “Amazon continues to use the entire publishing industry as a LOSS LEADER–Apple gave them a way out of that, and if there was any colluding it, was among the publishers, not Apple.”

        Upset that AAPL is turning out to be a bad stock pick?

        I advise anybody that is reading these comments to read the original article on Bloomberg and NY Times for an accurate account of the evidence that was uncovered during this trial.
        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-01/apple-should-pay-840-million-over-e-books-states-say.html

        “In her ruling, Denise L. Cote of United States District Court in Manhattan said Apple had taken advantage of the publishers’ “fear of and frustration” over Amazon.com’s control of e-book pricing, and the tight window of opportunity in the weeks leading up to the iPad’s introduction in 2010, to get the publishers to agree to its terms. “Apple seized the moment and brilliantly played its hand,” she wrote.”

        “Five major publishers had also been named in the suit, but they all settled before the trial. Apple continued to fight the charges despite what increasingly looked like uphill odds. Publicly, the company said it refused to settle as a matter of principle because it had done nothing wrong.”

        “The Justice Department said the judge’s decision was a victory for people who buy e-books.”

        “Companies cannot ignore the antitrust laws when they believe it is in their economic self-interest to do so,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “This decision by the court is a critical step in undoing the harm caused by Apple’s illegal actions.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/technology/judge-rules-against-apple-in-e-books-trial.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • RussellL

      “Consumers were not harmed by Apple or anyone involved in the evolution of ebooks.”

      Oh please, Apple apologist. Ebook prices for wholesalers and consumers went up because of the collusion. How is that not harming customers?

      “Additionally it is clear that Apple intended no harm and has been subjected to a witch hunt persecution by the DOJ and in particular Judge Cote.”

      Apple did it to so they would not have to compete with Amazon on price.
      Steve knew there was no good reason for people to buy an ebook from iTunes over a lower priced one from Amazon.

  • Z Odbuster

    A monetary fine for the world’s richest company… ?? how about a few months in jail for the CEO …

    for all the iSheep who will trash me…
    capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which owners ( especially Apple ) express empathy and sympathy and have extreme positive feelings toward their products always to the point of defending them ad nauseum

 
 
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