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DOJ: Email from Steve Jobs implies Apple wanted to create falsely inflated e-book pricing

post #1 of 89
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An email from late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs to then CEO of News Corp. James Murdoch suggests the Cupertino company was looking to set the price of e-books sold through the iBookstore at rates higher than market leader Amazon, says the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jobs Email
Source: AllThingsD


First mentioned by the Justice Department court filings for its upcoming antitrust suit against Apple, the email was published in full today by AllThingsD, giving a glimpse at how the DOJ plans to run its case.

As seen above, the email may not be as damning as alluded to by the DOJ when it quoted the letter in a findings of facts filing.

The DOJ's excerpt from its memo:
?Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99.?

Jobs wrote the note to Murdoch, whose company owns HarperCollins, hoping to get the major book publisher on board with Apple's iBookstore. However, when read as part of the longer email, the snippet seems somewhat less important to the DOJ's argument that Apple colluded to fix e-book prices above prevailing costs set by Amazon.

?Heck, Amazon is selling these books at $9.99, and who knows maybe they are right and we will fail even at $12.99. But we?re willing to try at the prices we proposed. We are not willing to try at higher prices, because we are pretty sure we?ll all fail.?

For its part, Apple denies the claims, asserting that the e-book industry has actaully thrived after the iBookstore launched in 2010.

?We helped transform the eBook market with the introduction of the iBookstore in 2010 bringing consumers an expanded selection of eBooks and delivering innovative new features," said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr on Tuesday.

Both sides will present their respective arguments when they meet at a bench trial on June 3.
post #2 of 89
So not sure how Jobs forced the prices higher. He gave choices with his opinion.
post #3 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

So not sure how Jobs forced the prices higher. He gave choices with his opinion.

The DOJ is using internet troll tactics here. There is nothing about that email that is collusion or a conspiracy. He compared to hardcovers, he stated Amazon's pricing, he opined what he thought was an ideal price point and even questioned his own opinion. If he's guilty of anything it's planting fear and making accusations of what Amazon will do in the future without qualifying it as "I believe Amazon will..." despite that being clear.

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post #4 of 89

So an analysis of possible prices based on physical books and Amazon pricing.

 

Has anyone told the DoJ that an implication is not conclusive evidence, particularly as relates to hearsay where the writer of the email is not available to clarify the true meaning.

 

Apple will be exonerated, they have done nothing wrong.

 

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post #5 of 89
All Steve is doing is trying to figure out some options, he's just spiff balling some ideas.
post #6 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

So an analysis of possible prices based on physical books and Amazon pricing.

Has anyone told the DoJ that an implication is not conclusive evidence, particularly as relates to hearsay where the writer of the email is not available to clarify the true meaning.

Apple will be exonerated, they have done nothing wrong.

I hope the DoJ doesn't find out the DoD has think tanks that try to conceive of every possible threat to the nation to prepare defensive and offensive tactics. They might send all these patriots to Guantanamo.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #7 of 89
Seems like DoJ is on to "nothing" here !!
post #8 of 89

Message to DOJ, is that all you got?  You might as well go home look at yourself in the mirror, take your law degree plaque off the wall and burn it.  You guys are REACHING.  

post #9 of 89
Am I the only one surprised and disappointed that Jobs was colluding with Rupert Murdoch directly? Not just the fact that Murdoch is one of the worst humans on the planet, but just how stupid this is in the internet age? Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?
post #10 of 89
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post
Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?

 

Maybe if that had been happening, sure.

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post #11 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Am I the only one surprised and disappointed that Jobs was colluding with Rupert Murdoch directly?

 

Other than the DOJ I think you may be the only one that thinks this email is evidence of (illegal or deceptive or fraudulent) "collusion" at all.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Not just the fact that Murdoch is one of the worst humans on the planet, but just how stupid this is in the internet age? Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?

 

 

Seriously? There's no price-fixing going on here. There's a business deal being discussed about how to compete and present and sell a product in the market. You're imagining things. That said, there may be a place for you in the USDoJ.

 

1rolleyes.gif

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post #12 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Am I the only one surprised and disappointed that Jobs was colluding with Rupert Murdoch directly? Not just the fact that Murdoch is one of the worst humans on the planet, but just how stupid this is in the internet age? Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?

 

Colluding, really?

 

Is there any evidence at all in support of your claim?

 

Are you aware of the role the presumption of innocence plays in US law?

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post #13 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post

Message to DOJ, is that all you got?  You might as well go home look at yourself in the mirror, take your law degree plaque off the wall and burn it.  You guys are REACHING.  

 

It seems that wall degree plaque was purchased off the Internet for $9.99 along with the degree, going by the complete lack of understanding of the law that the perpetrators of this farcical nonsense portray.

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post #14 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

 

....

 

Are you aware of the role the presumption of innocence plays in US law?

Presumption of innocence went away with McCarthy. Now you have to prove your innocence and even when you do, the court of public opinion has already convicted you. There is no justice in the US anymore and the DOJ is leading the way with baseless accusations. 

post #15 of 89
Here's what this is all about.

We're the DoJ and since Apple has more cash than the Federal Reserve and we have this huge deficit, what we're doing is taking some silly email creating something illegal when there isn't, and see if we can shake down for some cash to help lower the deficit, especially since the author of the email isn't around to explain their position. Real great DoJ.
post #16 of 89

 There is no conspiracy here, at least one that Apple had cajoled. Lets review the short history of ebooks. So this new marked comes along that never existed in the past. The new market begins with Amazon selling ebooks at $9.99. Amazon is all about market share, so they are willing to take a low profit to begin. Amazon's high PE is present due to the presumption that Amazon will make a profit in the future. So per Steve's letter, Amazon initiated ebooks sales at less then a 30% royalty that Apple is accustomed to.  So along comes Apple, with the new fangled iOS operating system on stylish readers called iPhones and iPads. Steve the CEO states to publishers, come with me, I will take my customary 30% cut, but you keep an equivalent royalty as our customers are willing to pay a premium to our reading experience. Or you can skip us and stay with Amazon, but expect them to raise their royalty with time, as per the sky high PE, Amazon will one day want to make a profit. A third option is to skip this new fangled ebook market. So the DOJ is saying Apple set the rate at which Amazon must sell other companies products. All Apple did was say we can sell through our store at a premium as our platform is awesome. I suspect that Apple did not tell Amazon to raise their prices. Do the math, 70% royalty off $12.99 is $9.01. Amazon likely began selling ebooks with a 10% royalty, and with $8.99 quite close to $9.01. Now we know where Apple came up with the 12.99 recommendation. Steve, being Steve, tried to push it to 14.99 as he was running a profit oriented business. 

post #17 of 89
Reading it over it looks like a response to HC whose position may have proposed higher prices still - job's response was to highlight the lower amazon price and proposed a middle ground. As he's also saying higher wont work alluding to HC's stance at the time which makes sense of the email.
post #18 of 89
The full letter confirms Jobs and Apple as fair and honest traders. End of story.
post #19 of 89
Another crappy AI post with little to no insight

Another copy and past from mainstream media.

If someone read the whole email, Jobs was suggesting price caps, not inflated prices..

Will the DOJ win this, who knows. The government bent over for the banks so they probably want a win.

I would hope the the gov won't waste tax payers money if they can't win, but lawyers always want to make a name for themselves so they can be Attorney Generals or Supreme Court Justices.

Why aren't they investigating Amazon? Selling bellow cost is dumping, an antitrust violation.
post #20 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by enzos View Post

The full letter confirms Jobs and Apple as fair and honest traders. End of story.

The DoJ will only submit...

James,

Our proposal does set [...] higher prices because we are all pretty [...]

Regards,
Steve

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #21 of 89

So Apple wants to sell eBooks at a higher price than Amazon...soo where is the story here DOJ?

post #22 of 89
So... How is this illegal. Sounds like free market capitalism to me.
post #23 of 89
The DOJ is full of it and they know it.
They will lose.
post #24 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

So an analysis of possible prices based on physical books and Amazon pricing.

Has anyone told the DoJ that an implication is not conclusive evidence, particularly as relates to hearsay where the writer of the email is not available to clarify the true meaning.

Apple will be exonerated, they have done nothing wrong.

Maybe Steve Jobs should recuse himself from the investigation...
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post #25 of 89

Steve Jobs quote: "our motives are pure"

Veeeery pure indeed! Hey, let's raise the books prices and see if we can PROFIT!

post #26 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Am I the only one surprised and disappointed that Jobs was colluding with Rupert Murdoch directly? Not just the fact that Murdoch is one of the worst humans on the planet, but just how stupid this is in the internet age? Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?

All this certainly now explains the WSJ being relentless against Apple...
post #27 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by enzos View Post

The full letter confirms Jobs and Apple as fair and honest traders. End of story.

The DoJ will only submit...

James,

Our proposal does set [...] higher prices because we are all pretty [...]

Regards,
Steve

...In other news, the Department Of Justice has decided to change its name to the Ministry Of Truth,,,
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post #28 of 89
F*** it, the email seems super clear to me. There were two price points that could work, and only one that Apple was willing to work with.

Is the DOJ that stupid in the USA? Or does it work for Amazon? Department of Amazon Justice?

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #29 of 89
It is obvious from comment that Murdoch wanted more and Steve said try at this price but anymore you will fail
post #30 of 89
lol - is that what their case rests on? Truly hopeless.
post #31 of 89
In a weird kind of way I am thinking that DOJ is attacking Apple as a ruse to be able to attack Amazon. Since Amazon worked with the DOJ against Apple a lot of evidence was collected and the DOJ saw that in order to break up the Amazon monopoly Apple had to present the data showing the monopolistic practices that Amazon had and has forced upon book publishers. Once all of the information becomes public I think Apple will be exonerated and the book publishers will then be in a position of power to stop being pawns for Amazon. Let's see what happens.

On a different note I used Siri to type this.
post #32 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Am I the only one surprised and disappointed that Jobs was colluding with Rupert Murdoch directly? Not just the fact that Murdoch is one of the worst humans on the planet, but just how stupid this is in the internet age? Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?

 

Definitely disappointed about working with Murdoch.

post #33 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

 

It seems that wall degree plaque was purchased off the Internet for $9.99 along with the degree, going by the complete lack of understanding of the law that the perpetrators of this farcical nonsense portray.

 

If they'd bought that plaque from Apple, it would have been $12.99...

 

I think the important thing in the email isn't the discussion of price, it's the repeated use of "we all" in the text: "...we'll all fail.", "...we can all...". It sort of blows away the concept that Apple was negotiating in a vacuum with the book publishers. And that was part of Apple's claim, that they negotiated individually with the book publishers. They all knew what Apple was doing. Couple that with Apple requirement that publisher's couldn't let other book sellers sell at a cheaper price and the switch to the agency model.

post #34 of 89
This is what passes off for evidence at the DoJ!?

They would be a laughable bunch if they didn't have such untrammeled prosecutorial power.
post #35 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

If they'd bought that plaque from Apple, it would have been $12.99...

I think the important thing in the email isn't the discussion of price, it's the repeated use of "we all" in the text: "...we'll all fail.", "...we can all...". It sort of blows away the concept that Apple was negotiating in a vacuum with the book publishers. And that was part of Apple's claim, that they negotiated individually with the book publishers. They all knew what Apple was doing. Couple that with Apple requirement that publisher's couldn't let other book sellers sell at a cheaper price and the switch to the agency model.

I didn't see a mention of other publishers. "We" can describe just two people/entities.
post #36 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klark Kent View Post

 

Definitely disappointed about working with Murdoch.

 

Why?

 

Both men had visions and created empires based on bringing them about.

 

From what was said in the article both men shared a similar idea of keeping their respective corporate cultures alive and active.

 

Both had stunning successes and equally spectacular failures.

 

They had a lot in common.

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post #37 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbass View Post

Am I the only one surprised and disappointed that Jobs was colluding with Rupert Murdoch directly? Not just the fact that Murdoch is one of the worst humans on the planet, but just how stupid this is in the internet age? Shouldn't there have been at least a go-between or two when they're corresponding about fixing prices so the companies could have downplayed it somehow?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klark Kent View Post

 

Definitely disappointed about working with Murdoch.

 

Quick you two should update your resumes just in case the board does can Tim Cook. Obviously you know things about Murdoch that Steve was unaware of.   What was Rupert doing that was so evil and different from any other new organization?  Was he snipping the spinal cords of babies?  Using the DoJ to wiretap reporters phone lines? Using the IRS to shutdown his competition?

 

Is Rupert a bad guy? I don't know, but there is very little difference between how his companies are run to those of NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS groups.  Steve's number one job was to watch out for Apple's interests, not police organizations/people you don't like.

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post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by NelsonX View Post

Steve Jobs quote: "our motives are pure"

Veeeery pure indeed! Hey, let's raise the books prices and see if we can PROFIT!

 

And what's wrong with that?

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post #39 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

 

If they'd bought that plaque from Apple, it would have been $12.99...

 

I think the important thing in the email isn't the discussion of price, it's the repeated use of "we all" in the text: "...we'll all fail.", "...we can all...". It sort of blows away the concept that Apple was negotiating in a vacuum with the book publishers. And that was part of Apple's claim, that they negotiated individually with the book publishers. They all knew what Apple was doing. Couple that with Apple requirement that publisher's couldn't let other book sellers sell at a cheaper price and the switch to the agency model.

We, as in Apple and Harper Collins.

 

One bookstore + one publisher = "we".

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post #40 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Klark Kent View Post

Definitely disappointed about working with Murdoch.

The guy is the CEO of one of the largest media conglomerates and you expect Jobs is going to snub the guy?
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