Unbowed, Apple takes its e-books case to the Supreme Court

As expected, Apple has filed an appeal of an appellate court ruling that upheld a decision finding that the iPhone maker had illegally colluded with five publishers to set e-book prices.

Apple’s filing, more than 200 pages long, relays Apple’s perspective as it negotiated e-book pricing in advance of the 2010 introduction of the iPad and iBookstore.

The Justice Department sued the company for antitrust violations and in 2013, a judge ruled that Apple was liable for engaging in a price-setting conspiracy. The judge appointed an outside antitrust monitor over the company, something Apple has bristled at ever since, as I have written.

If the June decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is upheld, Apple will be forced to pay consumers $450 million under a settlement with 33 states in a civil case, Reuters reports.

“The Second Circuit’s decision will harm competition and the national economy,” Apple says in the filing.

Apple released a statement to the press restating its position that it did nothing wrong:

When Apple launched the iBooks Store in 2010, we brought choice to consumers and innovation to ebooks. We have always acted in the best interest of customers and content creators of all sizes. We did nothing wrong, and stand by our principles. At this point, our only recourse is to take this to the Supreme Court.

Is there any downside for Apple to pursue this case to the bitter end? Most companies, I would wager, would have settled a long time ago mostly to be able to move on.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt, in Fortune, writes that Apple and CEO Tim Cook have little to lose by pursuing the issue:

With its war chest of cash, Apple can afford to wage quixotic fights. Especially if they are fights Steve Jobs started. Especially if a large segment of its customer base is inclined to see the case its way.

This is Apple ‘thinking different’ to the bitter end.

Photo: Apple’s new iBooks 2 app is demonstrated for the media on an iPad at an event in the Guggenheim Museum in New York on January 19, 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)


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  • poobah69

    Add to the fact that Apple is hiding their profits off shore to avoid paying taxes on them. I quit purchasing Apple products and Starbucks coffee because both of these huge rich companies aren’t paying their fair share of taxes on profits and instead are hiding their billions in profits offshore. Crappy phone anyway.

    • Dan Andersen

      Continue your important research, poobah69. There’s got to be some company somewhere that intentionally pays more taxes than it has to…

      (I haven’t found one yet. Maybe you’ll have better luck.)

    • billyricky

      Apple’s not hiding anything. They are choosing to keep their INTERNATIONAL profits overseas to avoid a 35% US tax (in addition to any foreign tax they’ve already paid). All of Apple’s US profits are kept in the US, and taxes paid on them. (Even with keeping their foreign profits overseas, Apple pays more in US taxes than any other company).

      This is much different than companies registering (for example) in the Cayman Islands, and shifting their US profits offshore to avoid taxes.

  • Don Moses

    poobah69 probably lives off the government. Whiny, little person, lost without his mommy.

  • Cathy Smith

    I quit purchasing Apple products and Starbucks coffee because both of these huge rich companies aren’t paying their fair share of taxes on profits. Seahawks Beanie

    • Dan Andersen

      Good one, Cathy!

      Should Apple, Starbucks and other corporations donate taxes they don’t owe?