The federal government is pressing its legal and PR case against Apple in New York federal court today. It released some slides from the proceedings that are intended to highlight the intended conspiracy. Here’s a look.
Apple and the federal government are about to go to trial over an alleged conspiracy to fix ebook prices — but recent court filings show that Amazon will play a large role in determining the outcome.
The crux of the government’s case against Apple is that it acted as the “ringmaster” of a conspiracy among the publishers to raise the price of ebooks above what Amazon was selling them for. But what the government calls a conspiracy in restraint of trade, Apple calls standard operating procedure for entering a concentrated media market.
Apple’s exposure in a closely-watched price-fixing case over ebooks looks more serious as the CEOs of major publishers — which have already settled with the government — will testify about Apple’s role in the case.
The case accusing Apple of fixing ebook prices is heating up. New court documents show that Steve Jobs’ biographer have been dropped from the case but that Jobs himself is still at the center of it.
Amazon won a court ruling last week that restrict Apple’s access to its executives and documents. Filings from the case also show that senior Amazon executives are poised to testify for the government in its price-fixing case against Apple.
The government uses anti-trust law to stop cartels and ensure products can be bought and sold freely. This makes sense for ordinary consumer goods like gas or long distance phone calls, but does it make sense for cultural items like books?
Should a merger agreement between Penguin and Random House be reached, agency pricing is most assuredly dead. Any approval of the merger by the Justice Department would almost certainly be conditioned on Penguin and Random House agreeing to forgo any agency pricing deals with retailers for at least several years.
Did you buy an ebook in the last two years? Amazon is notifying customers of the potential for a refund and other retailers will soon follow suit. The process is part of a long, complicated class action proceeding.
A lawyer in the high profile case over ebook price fixing is hoping a line of poetry will persuade a judge to stop the proceedings. Meanwhile, the judge said she will not collect a price-fixing refund as new prices go into effect today.