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Apple calls antitrust suit 'bizarre,' says DOJ 'reverse-engineered a conspiracy'

post #1 of 111
Thread Starter 
During Apple's opening statements at the Department of Justice's e-book price fixing trial on Monday, lawyer Orin Snyder called the government's suit "bizarre," the same terminology CEO Tim Cook used to describe the case during an interview last week.

Following the DOJ's case presentation earlier in the day, Snyder offered Apple's arguments, concluding the company should be commended, not condemned, for its e-book efforts, reports AllThingsD.

DOJ


Snyder, like Cook at the D11 conference, used the buzzword "bizarre" to describe the Justice Department's suit. According to in-court reports from CNET, the lawyer said the DOJ's antitrust case is "the first time in the history of antitrust laws that a new entrant coming into a concentrated market ... is condemned."

?When the U.S. government brings a case, many assume it must have merit,? he said. ?But even our government is fallible, and sometimes the government just gets it wrong. Apple did not conspire with any publisher individually, collectively or otherwise to raise industry prices."

Snyder rehashed an argument saying Apple did not collude with five major book publishers to falsely inflate e-book pricing in the iBookstore. He went on to say the publishers themselves had side dealings Apple was not aware of, a point central to the DOJ's case. The Justice Department has no evidence to assert otherwise, he said.

?What the government is trying to do is reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect," Snyder said.

As part of Monday's proceedings, Apple attorney Kevin Saul, who handles the issues with iTunes, apps and iBooks, was the lone witness to give testimony. During questioning, Saul said he aided in the drafting of Apple's agreements with the five publishing houses, and noted the company told the content owners it "had no interest in helping them fix the problems they had with Amazon pricing."

All five publishers settled out of court, leaving Apple to stand alone in its fight against the DOJ's allegations.

Apple's e-book trial is scheduled to run for the next three weeks, and will continue tomorrow with more testimony from Saul. Upcoming witnesses include Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, the executive most involved with the negotiations.
post #2 of 111

DOJ will lose. Funny how they never investigated Amazon's monopoly on books prior to iBooks being released.

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post #3 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

He went on to say the publishers themselves had side dealings Apple was not aware of...

That would explain why they all settled and Apple didn't.
Quote:
"What the government is trying to do is reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect," Snyder said.

I agree with this assessment thus far.

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post #4 of 111
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post
DOJ will lose. Funny how they never investigated Amazon's monopoly on books prior to iBooks being released.

 

Apple should sue for both damages and a forced trial of Amazon for the same thing.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #5 of 111

They'll stop at nothing to waste taxpayer's money.


Edited by SpamSandwich - 6/3/13 at 5:07pm

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post #6 of 111
I think they will unfortunately lose and Apple will appeal to scotus.
post #7 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

They'll stop at nothing to waste taxpayer's money.

 

The funny thing is that the DOJ got what it wanted when the publishers settled. Even if Apple lose, there is nothing to gain except make Apple looks bad.

post #8 of 111
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post
The stupid thing is that the DOJ got what it wanted when the publishers settled. Even if Apple lose, there is nothing to gain except make Apple looks bad.

 

Been front page news in the papers for quite some time.

 

When it's over, there won't be a SINGLE WORD said about how not only was Apple not guilty of doing anything in the first place, but Amazon's subsequent trial won't even be IN the paper.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #9 of 111

Screw the DOJ.

 

The only conspiracy that I see, is the one that's taking place within the DOJ, by their corrupt employees and serial liars. If Apple believes that they are being unfairly targeted, then can't they sue the DOJ?

post #10 of 111
Apple was price fixing, its an open and shut case. They helped organize an effort among top publishers to raise e-book prices. The government has a bunch of e-mail, phone calls, and key witnesses that seem to make this a done deal.

How about when Jobs did his iPad introduction, where he bought a copy of the Edward Kennedy autobiography on stage for $14.99 ($9.99 on Amazon). When Walt Mossberg questioned Jobs on why people would pay more for an e-book from Apple, Jobs not so wisely replied, That wont be the case. The prices wontt remain the same.

Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon & Schuster, ended up calling that remark incredibly stupid in an e-mail to a colleague.

It doesn't matter how many people own iProducts - Apple is going to end up paying a bunch of that money they have banked.
post #11 of 111
Originally Posted by sac2dude View Post
Apple was price fixing, its an open and shut case.

 

Then prove it, one post troll.


It doesn't matter how many people own iProducts - Apple is going to end up paying a bunch of that money they have banked.

 

lol.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #12 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by sac2dude View Post

Apple was price fixing, its an open and shut case. .

Cool. Our first Amazon shill.

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post #13 of 111

Apple is clueless. You can't even get a lunch reservation anywhere near K Street unless you know someone. 

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post #14 of 111
?What the government is trying to do is reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect," Snyder said.

Agree!! The government is good at coming up with an "end" in order to fabricate "the means."
post #15 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

DOJ will lose. Funny how they never investigated Amazon's monopoly on books prior to iBooks being released.

 



Well, paper publishing has a number of issues and challenges.  I worked for a publisher at one point in time that had more trouble with Ingram Publishing Services.  But they preferred working with Amazon.  Under an Ingram contract, the printer/publisher has/had to pay for everything, including return shipping if the book is returned or in a worse situation, completely outside the publisher's control, someone at Barnes & Noble spills a starbucks coffee on a book.  This happened frequently.  One time, Ingram UPS-mailed a crate of books, around 1000-lbs, requesting refund, and the publisher even had to pay for the shipping costs.   We took the books, and placed them in the trash, and the unexpected 1,000-lb return cost the publisher over $10,000.   It was a real expensive dumpster pickup, and the publisher learned from that. 

 

The publisher I worked for was really looking forward to the iPad as a savior.  But, the first few versions of iBooks didn't support color pictures for children's books, but I believe this was updated and changed.  Color books, especially for Children's books, is a differentiator, and needed for anything that has illustrations, and a customer at the time, would have paid additional for something in color, over Kindle's Black-and-white display.

 

For paper distribution, amazon uses Just-In-Time supply chain concepts, and only keep a few week's stock on-hand, which work better.  Using centralized logistics, it just worked better than Ingram Publishing. 

 

As for the DoJ action, they're doing their job and researching how to arrive at specific pricing.  I'm surprised that no one pointed out the fact that iPad was in color, and color can, by definition, command a premium.   Heck, 4-color printing costs more anyway! 

 

That said, perhaps the DoJ is correct.  With electronic distribution, prices should go down over time, and they likely will as new authors sign contracts, that take into consideration potential new royalty amounts for electronic distribution.  

 

From a publisher perspective, it's difficult to pin down a price that respects publisher's need to create profitable products, pay wages without cannibalizing the print market sales through companies like Amazon, Barnes & Noble (Ingram Publishers... Whom only paid after a book was sold at a store), and others.  My guess (and it's just a guess), is that Apple's suggestions for pricing were a good balance for the transition into electronic publishing formats.  Creating an eBook is easy, but some customers still prefer paper versions, including myself.  If your looking to publish, consider a Lulu account.  As a publisher or self-publishing author, you can set the price to whatever you want.  Lulu works similar to a regular publisher- manages the contracts, and distributes on multiple platforms including Kindle and iBooks, all electronically.

 

I doubt any, or very few, of the authors in publisher's catalogs have an issue of being paid an amount similar to a print copy.   Indeed, publishers can set the pricing to individual titles to whatever they negotiate with the author, but when it comes to back catalog manuscripts, likely the logic applied was sales.  And Publishers, standing up on behalf of the Authors, wanted royalties to be paid an amount similar to physical distribution.  Likely, if an author wanted to charge more or less, I'm sure all they have to do is call their literary agent or publisher up, and request a price change.

 

From the legal department's perspective, you have to understand royalties and contracts.  People in creative industries, often loose contact after the creative work is done.  Apple's suggestions for pricing were likely used to provide general direction in situations where the Author couldn't be contacted in time for the Kindle or iPad/iBooks launch.  Unfortunately, this occurs often!  In 2004, Eliot Spitzer, as Attorney General for the State of New York, found $50,000,000.00 in royalties owed to musicians whose record labels had failed to keep in contact with them.  All they needed was an accurate list but sometimes authors, artists, and musicians move, so the catalog of books, whom the Publisher owns the copyright to, has to be managed.

 

With matured industries like music or print publishing, authors to books may not have been available to re-draw-up new contracts on an individual basis.   So the price likely had similar goals including payment to authors a royalty amount the same as physical publishing.  Most publishers own the copyright anyway.


Edited by BobbyDooley - 6/3/13 at 6:31pm
post #16 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by sac2dude View Post

Apple was price fixing, its an open and shut case. They helped organize an effort among top publishers to raise e-book prices.

Prove it, open and shut. Not circumstantial BS. And not stuff taken out of context to read to your desired effect

If Jons etc of guilty of anything it was setting limits on the publishers control so they wouldn't get too crazy. Nd not wanting anyone to undercut them (something Amazon had in contracts themselves )

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post #17 of 111
Hmm..
post #18 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Apple should sue for both damages and a forced trial of Amazon for the same thing.

 

Care to elaborate? I'm not sure you can seek the investigation of another company in a suit like that. I don't think there's a way to force indirect litigation. Perhaps someone else can contribute on this one.

post #19 of 111
Regardless of the merits, with stuff like this (and the tax testimony), Apple is not winning any PR badges. That is the sad fact.
post #20 of 111
Originally Posted by hmm View Post
Care to elaborate? I'm not sure you can seek the investigation of another company in a suit like that. I don't think there's a way to force indirect litigation. Perhaps someone else can contribute on this one.

 

Oh, I know. I'm just saying. irked.gif

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #21 of 111
Apple needs to pay more taxes -- but so do MOST of the Fortune 500. The focus on Apple for price fixing, when Amazon is killing profits for authors. the focus on Apple at FoxConn when they were the ones pushing for better treatment, and the focus on Apple about taxes when there are many that pay less than 3% -- is not a factor of Apple being the biggest culprit -- but a factor of Apple having fewer lobbyists, of leaving the US Chamber of Commerce which is just a lobbyist group now for outsourcers. The Justice Department seems to be merely an enforcer of the protection racket that Congress has become. You pay for politicians and they go to bat for you and they steer the committees onto someone else until they get a huge donation. Mitch McConnell or Harry Reed get a bunch of Apple stock -- this goes away. I think E-Books should be a lot cheaper. The distribution is nothing compared to a paper book -- but publishers charge as much as they can -- nothing new. Our justice system is pathetic. It cannot find corrupt bankers, it cannot break up monopolies, but it can beat shop keepers up until they pay the Vig.
post #22 of 111

I'm not attempting to be a troll, but this article was posted and I came upon it while reading other stories regarding this case.  Personally I don't care.  I don't even own an eBook reader.  I've just read the various reports regarding the trial and the fact that every publisher has settled and paid restitution.

 

Yet in spite of all this, regardless of the records the DoJ has collected and discussed, it appears as though the majority on this forum dismiss the DoJ "just because"...  From what I've read, it appears to be more than just nuisance litigation - but I can certainly be wrong.   It doesn't "seem" like a manufactured or thin case - but again that could just be me.

post #23 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by sac2dude View Post

How about when Jobs did his iPad introduction, where he bought a copy of the Edward Kennedy autobiography on stage for $14.99 ($9.99 on Amazon). When Walt Mossberg questioned Jobs on why people would pay more for an e-book from Apple, Jobs not so wisely replied, That wont be the case. The prices wontt remain the same.
 

 

How about you present the actual fact then?  From the DoJ slideshow:

 

"Mossberg wondered why someone ‘should buy a [b]book for $14.99 when you can buy one from Amazon for $9.99 on the Kindle or Barnes & Noble?’  A confident Jobs replies, ‘That won’t be the case.... The prices will be the same.’”

 

In other words, "The market will work this out; maybe the publishers will choose to charge $9.99 on our platform or maybe Amazon will stop losing money on every single sale and the prices will go up."

post #24 of 111

Someone remind me what the DoJ is asking for in terms of damages?  Even if Apple loses, this could be a case like the classic NFL anti-trust loss.  The NFL was found guilty of collusion and because it was an anti-trust case the damages were tripled.  They had to pay $3.00 (plus interest).  1.9.3 USFL v. NFL lawsuit

post #25 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

In other words, "The market will work this out; maybe the publishers will choose to charge $9.99 on our platform or maybe Amazon will stop losing money on every single sale and the prices will go up."

Jobs made that very clear in the leaked email. He said he doesn't think selling it as a loss was sustainable. I don't see how it's likely that he'd be wrong but he still worded it as an opinion.

"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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"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 #26 of 111
Quote:
"What the government is trying to do is reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect," Snyder said.
 
In this context, Snyder is effectively admitting a conspiracy. He is misusing the term "reverse engineer". Hopefully, he has been misquoted.
post #27 of 111
Quote:

This is so obviously a political witch hunt it's not even funny. Amazon's near monopoly-- gained by engaging in dumping and clearly in violation of anti-trust, was threatened, so they got their boys in washington (obama's boys, a corrupt administration to begin with) to go after their competitor.

Offering the same deal to multiple parties is not "collusion" or a "conspiracy".

Offering a better deal than amazon to those parties is not "anti-competitive" it's COMPETITIVE.

Requiring that anyone selling on your store not set higher prices for you than they do for others is not "price fixing" or any kind of attempt to artificially inflate the price, but in fact, an attempt to keep prices low.

The smoking gun here is aimed at the DoJ's head and proves this is a politically motivated, corrupt, persecution of Apple.

Too bad the government doesn't have to obey the law (and since the government runs the courts you can't get any justice when the government is the persecutor.)

If Apple is punished with this, they really should consider moving their headquarters overseas.

post #28 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Oh, I know. I'm just saying. irked.gif

Okay. Well I thought Amazon was basically dumping on prices. You get to buy cheap books. Content has been in decline no matter what, especially textbooks. There isn't any form of collusion there on Amazon's part as far as I can tell. If they were investigated, it would be over their use of loss leaders to starve any possible competition. They do this stuff in other markets too. Amazon isn't the first one  to take on such a strategy.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

 

How about you present the actual fact then?  From the DoJ slideshow:

 

"Mossberg wondered why someone ‘should buy a [b]book for $14.99 when you can buy one from Amazon for $9.99 on the Kindle or Barnes & Noble?’  A confident Jobs replies, ‘That won’t be the case.... The prices will be the same.’”

 

In other words, "The market will work this out; maybe the publishers will choose to charge $9.99 on our platform or maybe Amazon will stop losing money son every single sale and the prices will go up."

Bleh. That's a nonsense way to spin such a statement. Most books have some kind of suggested retail price printed on them. It's not like they're going from something that was actually in the publisher agreements.

 

I suspect they have actual evidence if they're pursuing this, not word twisting on the level of internet troll tactics. I'm just not interested enough to search for it here.


Edited by hmm - 6/3/13 at 10:31pm
post #29 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post
In this context, Snyder is effectively admitting a conspiracy. He is misusing the term "reverse engineer". Hopefully, he has been misquoted.

The qualification is in the word "trying". The govt. is "trying" to do so. That their attempt won't be successful is not for lack of "trying", but because there isn't a conspiracy to reverse-engineer. Saying that the govt is evidently trying to do this and fit Apple up (the govt having used terms like "collude" that necessarily imply a "conspiracy")  does not admit that there is a conspiracy.


Edited by krabbelen - 6/4/13 at 12:26am
post #30 of 111

The strange thing is since the introduction of the iBookstore, prices have fallen rather than risen from $7.97 on average to $7.34.

 

I expect Apple will introduce this evidence soon, after the DoJ has enough rope to hang themselves with, which they seem surprisingly good at.

 

Anything to distract from the financiers who threw the world's economies into ruin with their greedy forays into unregulated mortgage markets, where maybe, just maybe the DoJ could do some real good.

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post #31 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by sac2dude View Post

Apple was price fixing, its an open and shut case. They helped organize an effort among top publishers to raise e-book prices. The government has a bunch of e-mail, phone calls, and key witnesses that seem to make this a done deal.

How about when Jobs did his iPad introduction, where he bought a copy of the Edward Kennedy autobiography on stage for $14.99 ($9.99 on Amazon). When Walt Mossberg questioned Jobs on why people would pay more for an e-book from Apple, Jobs not so wisely replied, That wont be the case. The prices wontt remain the same.

Carolyn Reidy, the CEO of Simon & Schuster, ended up calling that remark incredibly stupid in an e-mail to a colleague.

It doesn't matter how many people own iProducts - Apple is going to end up paying a bunch of that money they have banked.

 

Great, now we've got DoJ lawyers signing up to post. Sorry, it doesn't sound any more convincing in this repetition.

post #32 of 111
It seems the Feds and courts are all about creating monopolies. Cases involving mergers always make the argument that mergers are legal if they will keep prices low or lower them. Ever lowering prices results in competitors never being able to enter the market. We then have production monopolies. That results in job monopolies.

If one wants a stable and vibrant economy and jobs, you have to make it easy for competition to enter the market. Along with a tax policy that allows the big guys to buy tax loopholes from Congress, you have the economic mess and political mess we're in.
post #33 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

Okay. Well I thought Amazon was basically dumping on prices. You get to buy cheap books. Content has been in decline no matter what, especially textbooks. There isn't any form of collusion there on Amazon's part as far as I can tell. If they were investigated, it would be over their use of loss leaders to starve any possible competition. They do this stuff in other markets too. Amazon isn't the first one  to take on such a strategy.

 

Bleh. That's a nonsense way to spin such a statement. Most books have some kind of suggested retail price printed on them. It's not like they're going from something that was actually in the publisher agreements.

 

I suspect they have actual evidence if they're pursuing this, not word twisting on the level of internet troll tactics. I'm just not interested enough to search for it here.

 

I was quoting directly from the DoJ's opening arguments so they are using this.  And I did so only to correct a misquote from that other guy that made it sound more damning.  I agree with you that "prices will be the same"  does not mean "wink, wink, we know that our initial prices will stick." 

post #34 of 111
Rly? That's your graphic for this story? How is the DOJ burning apple
post #35 of 111
Originally Posted by jayparry View Post
How is the DOJ burning apple

 

0/10. Try harder.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #36 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

It seems the Feds and courts are all about creating monopolies. Cases involving mergers always make the argument that mergers are legal if they will keep prices low or lower them. Ever lowering prices results in competitors never being able to enter the market. We then have production monopolies. That results in job monopolies.

If one wants a stable and vibrant economy and jobs, you have to make it easy for competition to enter the market. Along with a tax policy that allows the big guys to buy tax loopholes from Congress, you have the economic mess and political mess we're in.

Yes, government helps create and maintain monopolies (and near monopolies) thanks to corporatism, that heartwarmingly close relationship between narrow, select businesses and lawmakers.

I could care less about unrestricted mergers, so long as competitors are not restricted from entering the same markets. Open, unrestricted competition has a way of flattening prices and breaking monopolies.

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post #37 of 111

There looks to be a lot of people in this forum who really need to take a few steps back and remove their bias for a few minutes. Here is the most telling thing in this case so far from a person (the judge) who has seen a lot of the evidence already. The judge has said that she feel the DOJ can prove their case against Apple.

 

I know here come all the comments about how the judge is not being fair and she should be removed.

 

Ah, but she made the comment because she was asked by both the DOJ and Apple to give her opinion of the case after she had already reviewed several hundred documents.

 

Again the judge was asked by both Apple and the DOJ for her opinion about the case.

 

It is clear Apple was in fact a part of price fixing with the publishers when Apple got the MFN clause that stated nobody would be allowed to sell the same books Apple sold for less money than Apple was selling the books for.

 

Imagine you own a store and you buy a widget from XYB company, they sell you the widget for 7.50 each, you decided that you will charge 8.25 each in your store. But wait the company also sells the same widget to Apple and in their Apple contract they set the price at 12.50 each and stipulate that no one else can sell the same widget for less than 12.50.

 

Apple has just fixed the price of those products.

 

Not a single honest person can dispute that Apple did in fact contact each of the publishers involved and directed them what the prices would be.

 

Apple thought they were being smart by not meeting with all the publishers in the same room at the same time, instead Apple thought they were smarter than the law and tried to do the same thing by phone and email but the end result was the same as all of them meeting in the same room discussing the pricing of e books and than setting up the most favored nation clause that only favored Apple.

 

Sorry but this is a case that Apple is going to lose and while the DOJ is not seeking monetary penalties against Apple the states can all jump in after Apple is found guilty and sue Apple for millions or even billions of dollars.

 

Apples own arrogance will be their down fall.

post #38 of 111
And yet, I've read other legal opinions that indicate exactly the opposite outcome

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post #39 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

 

I was quoting directly from the DoJ's opening arguments so they are using this.  And I did so only to correct a misquote from that other guy that made it sound more damning.  I agree with you that "prices will be the same"  does not mean "wink, wink, we know that our initial prices will stick." 

Everyone knows what Jobs meaning was and that was Amazon would not be allowed to sell for less than Apple due to Apples new most favored nation clause in the contract with publishers.

 

The comment Jobs made was very damning as one of the publishers even emailed Apple horrified that Jobs would make that comment.

post #40 of 111
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

And yet, I've read other legal opinions that indicate exactly the opposite outcome

Legal opinions or stock analysts who are long on Apple?

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