Apple Willing To Stand Trial On E-Book Price-Fixing Allegations

Even though three of the publishers accused of colluding with Apple to fix prices on e-books have already settled with the Dept. of Justice, the electronics giant continues to assert its innocence and wants the opportunity to answer the charges in court.

The government alleges that when Apple entered the e-book market in anticipation of the launch of the iPad, it colluded with a handful of major publishers to make “agency pricing” — wherein the publisher, and not the seller, determines the retail cost of a title — the standard. This meant that the bigger e-book sellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble could end up selling e-books for a higher price than paperback editions of the same title.

Apple, along with the two publishers still involved in the DOJ complaint — Macmillan and the Penguin Group — had their first day in court today and told the judge that they are not afraid of a trial.

“Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits,” the Apple lawyer said. “We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that.”

The next hearing is set for June 22.

Apple wants trial in e-book price-fixing case [Chicago Tribune]

Comments

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  1. umbriago says:

    Because if there’s one thing Apple has a lot of, it’s money for legal fees.

  2. mannyvel says:

    The first paragraph of this article is so wrong that it’s hard to know where to begin.

    I’d suggest that the first step is for you, the author, to understand the ebook market, in particular amazon’s wholesale pricing model. That would make you something more than someone who rewrites DoJ press releases and rehashes other people’s articles.

    You might also read this: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/macmillan-ceo-made-agency-model-decision-on-exercise-bike_b49971.

    • sagodjur says:

      “Error 404 – Not Found”

      That article says a lot.

      • chefboyardee says:

        It does if you know how to use the web.

        Automatic linkers connect any non-whitespace characters, so a period was added by Consumerist’s comment system when mannyvel completed his sentence with one.

        Click the link then remove the period from the end of the URL.

  3. FatLynn says:

    It is not illegal to reach an agreement about agency pricing. Apple is probably smart to fight this.

    • clydesplace says:

      It is illegal to do it through collusion with other companies in order to force another company into your business model.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      As others have pointed out voluminously in other articles, the part that’s likely to be illegal is the part where Apple forced the publishers to guarantee that no one else could sell a book for less than the price offered via Apple. That’s anti-competitive.

      • FatLynn says:

        Certainly the part where everyone got together in a big meeting is not okay. I’m not going to defend the collusion of the many publishers. Apple was involved in that, and thus broke anti-trust laws, it would appear.

        But individual agreements between a single publisher and a single distributor are really not as cut and dry.

    • Alan says:

      No, but it is illegal to get all the companies together to agree to agency pricing. And also admit that “well it will lead to higher prices, but it’s what you want anyways”

      If they would have go to it one by one, it wouldn’t have been too big of an issue, but that the fact that they did it all at once

      • FatLynn says:

        Agreed, fully, I should have been more nuanced in my original post. The post is written as though agency pricing is the problem, and it isn’t. THAT’s the part I mean Apple should fight.

        The “let’s have a big dinner where six publishers and a distributer make agreements” is not okay, but “lets have a small dinner with a single publisher and a single distributer” is.

  4. clydesplace says:

    I don’t think the only reason Apple is doing this is only because they have the money to. There are other reasons. They have never ever owned up to it or admit to their fanboys (begin countdown to fanboy invasion now…) that many of their business practices pretty much suck. They can’t do that because it might awaken them from their delusional stupor.

    Another reason is because Apple has become so big and arrogant, they think that alone is enough to lead them to victory while their fanboys cheer them on.

    • sagodjur says:

      Apparently Steve Jobs’ spirit of narcissistic megalomania lives on in the corporate beast he created.

  5. Press1forDialTone says:

    IMHO, I hope Apple and their publishing stooges get their butts kicked and lets
    see some 7 or 8 or better yet -9- figure fines. That ought to take a bite out of
    the Apple.

    • Alan says:

      If they win, I really hope the DOJ decides to make an example of apple. We have tons of evidence and clear cases. Admit what you did, slap on the wrist. But you decided to use your money to try to weasle your way out. Time to pay up.

  6. comatose says:

    Nice. Way to double down Apple. Twits.

  7. DragonThermo says:

    Considering Apple has more cash than the U.S. government, they could simply *buy* the U.S. and then drop the charges against themselves.