Last summer’s rumors of cable consolidation are back in the spotlight. But if the industry consolidates, it’s not about television, but about what you’ll pay for broadband that regulators should focus on.
The federal government outlined a revised punishment for Apple in the ebook pricing case Friday. It argued that Apple changed its in-app purchase rules to retaliate against Amazon. And it wants to make big changes in the way Apple does business in the iTunes Store.
On Friday afternoon, Apple and the federal government will meet in court to discuss Apple’s punishment in the ebook pricing case. Ahead of that conference, Apple argued for a stay, and the DOJ argued that the publishers have “banded together once again.”
The five publishers in the ebook pricing case object to the DOJ’s proposed punishment for Apple, saying that it would harm them because it aims to prohibit agency pricing for five years.
Apple provided its closing argument in the ebook case Thursday morning, with the government set to follow in the afternoon. Lead Apple attorney Orin Snyder argued that a ruling against Apple would create a “chilling” precedent.
Apple now holds about 20 percent of the U.S. ebook market, director Keith Moerer testified in court on Tuesday. Moerer also said that the iBookstore’s sales grew by 100 percent in 2012.
At the Apple ebook trial on Monday, HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray and Macmillan CEO John Sargent offered testimony as witnesses for the government. Emails showed that News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch expressed the desire to “screw Amazon.”
In court on Wednesday, Amazon executive Russ Grandinetti argued that publishers’ switch to the agency model was intended to “slow down the success of the Kindle,” while Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said Apple did not force publishers to enact agency contracts with Amazon and other retailers.
In a filing late Wednesday in response to Apple and book publishers, the Department of Justice reiterates its claim that agency pricing and the alleged conspiracy have resulted in “unmistakable consumer harm,” but refuses to release its ebook pricing analysis.
The Department of Justice’s trial against Apple, Penguin and Macmillan, who are accused of colluding to fix prices on e-books, will take place in a little under a year, on June 3, 2013, presiding U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled Friday.