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Google exec's inconsistent testimony weakens DOJ case against Apple in e-book price fixing suit

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday called a Google director to testify against Apple in its antitrust case over e-book price fixing, but the move proved unhelpful at best as the executive buckled under questioning.

Turvey
Thomas Turvey


In hopes of bolstering its case against Apple, the Justice Department looked to Google's director of strategic partnerships Thomas Turvey, who previously stated in written testimony that publishers had told him Apple was the reason they were switching to agency model pricing, reports The Verge.

Apple is being accused of conspiring to fix e-book prices with the help of five major book publishers by using what is known in the business as an agency model, which allows content owners to set pricing under a most favored nations clause. The clause precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices.

This supposed collusion diminished the ability for other book resellers to compete, including market leader Amazon, the DOJ argues. To show how MFN negatively impacted the e-book landscape, the Justice Department on Thursday turned to Turvey, who claimed to have evidence suggesting Apple forced the publishing houses to move to the agency model.

Once on the stand the veracity of Turvey story was immediately questioned by Apple lawyer Orin Snyder, who slowly chipped away at the Google exec's filed statement.

In his written testimony, Turvey claimed representatives of some of the publishers involved told him directly in 2010 that they were switching to agency because Apple required such compliance in its iBookstore contracts. It came out in court, however, that Turvey had drafted the statement with his lawyers, and the executive was unsure who exactly wrote the crucial allegations.

As proceedings wore on, Turvey's testimony became increasingly unreliable, as he wasn't able to recall the names of any publishing representatives alluded to in the document. The executive also acknowledged that the publishers' switch to the agency model affected Google's business dealings, but failed to remember details of reported meetings regarding the matter.

According to The Verge, by the end of Turvey's interview, he had gone from saying publishing executives spoke with him directly, to conceding they "likely" told someone on his team about Apple's purportedly aggressive tactics.

The DOJ's antitrust case continues on Friday with more testimony from Turvey, and is scheduled to run for the next two weeks.
post #2 of 66
It doesn't sound like the DOJ prepared their witness very well.
post #3 of 66
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post #4 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

[Insert animated GIF of car backfiring]

Ha!

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post #5 of 66
What a waste of resources this stupid DOJ action represents!
post #6 of 66

According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, the Most Favored Nation clause in Apple's agreement is as follows:

"If, for any particular New Release in hardcover format, the then-current Customer Price at any time is or becomes higher than a customer price offered by any other reseller ("Other Customer Price"), then Publisher shall designate a new, lower Customer Price to meet such lower Other Customer Price."

 

As you can see, contrary to what is stated in this article, there is nothing at all that "precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices.", although this is what the DOJ would like you to believe.  Full coverage of the clause, its author, and its intention can be found at http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/06/05/apple-mfn-saul-ebook/.

post #7 of 66

"I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that." - Judge Cote prior to the start of the trial.

 

What an absolute farce this is, now hurry up and find Apple guilty you moronic Judge, an appeal to the Supreme Court awaits and that should put an end to this incompetence.

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post #8 of 66
"It came out in court, however, that Turvey had drafted the statement with his lawyers, and the executive was unsure who exactly wrote the crucial allegations.

Shouldn't that be perjury? He made statement he signed as saying that this was his testimony and then conceded that not only didn't he write it, but what he signed off on was ""likely" told to some else.


Why wasn't that someone else providing testimony and does he read what he signs?

Either way, he is not very smart.

In fact if he had testified under oath what his (googles) lawyers would have him say from his statement, that would absolutely been perjuy

Lets think about that. Google lawyers would have had this asshat perjure himself.
Edited by dmarcoot - 6/6/13 at 11:52pm
post #9 of 66


It appears that Thomas Turvey's testimony went topsy turvy.

Bummer.

As long as the outcome of this investigation changes the fact that I can't buy both Coke and Pepsi at many establishments then I'll be happy.

Now THAT'S unfair.

1wink.gif

.
Edited by GTR - 6/6/13 at 9:52pm
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post #10 of 66
How does it prevent AMZ from competing? The same AMZ that had 90% market share? All it does is bring more profit to AMZ.
post #11 of 66
It's too bad the other publishers already settled. They might have won.

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post #12 of 66

Absolutely shocking a Google exec would be caught lying on the stand.  

/s

post #13 of 66
Hopefully the morons at the DOJ will give a complete refund to the pubkishers, and then perue the true criminals in the US - the fincial institutions and healthxare providers.
post #14 of 66
This entire case is built on top of a stack of toothpicks, and lies. How fucking pathetic.
post #15 of 66
Reminds me of that Woody Allen line...
 

 

Quote:
Right now it's only a notion, but I think I can get the money to make it into a concept, and later turn it into an idea.

 

post #16 of 66

There case is more than weak, it's pitiful. Amazon did books deals exactly like Apple and yet Apple is somehow liable for what?

So far they have shown absolutely nothing that Apple did anything wrong or different from what Amazon did. No evidence that they forced deals or anything.

post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

How does it prevent AMZ from competing? The same AMZ that had 90% market share? All it does is bring more profit to AMZ.

the operative word is *had* ... alerian can use more market share, now. although i think they've limited themselves by adopting such an extreme vertical stance so we'll see how much they're able to pick up in the coming 18 months.
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post #18 of 66
Orin Snyder handling it like a bawsss.

Seriously, this guy is worth whatever he charges based on how he's handled several witnesses so far.
post #19 of 66
How come there's no mention of Judge Cote's comment when she adjourned?

"Let's allow Mr. Turvey to escape so he can enjoy his Thursday."

Gold, Jerry, Gold.
post #20 of 66
Shadow of a doubt.
post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

How come there's no mention of Judge Cote's comment when she adjourned?

"Let's allow Mr. Turvey to escape so he can enjoy his Thursday."

.... And get ready for Friday's questions ....... ?
post #22 of 66
That is a weak picture. The human eye sees the colour red first, putting the person not 'in front'.

Totally OT, but I didn't think the issue here has any content.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #23 of 66
Showing my age, but there was a time when such proceedings were considered holding a "Kangaroo Court" in a "Banana Republic" *. 1oyvey.gif

* no, not the retail store....!
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post #24 of 66
The Department of Justice needs a new name.
post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Hopefully the morons at the DOJ will give a complete refund to the pubkishers, and then perue the true criminals in the US - the fincial institutions and healthxare providers.

 

The publishers don't deserve it. The fine was the price of caving in, bending over and taking it.

 

Anyway, I'm really not following this. If Amazon asks for the same deals then why hasn't this been thrown out already?

post #26 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayz View Post

 

The publishers don't deserve it. The fine was the price of caving in, bending over and taking it.

 

Anyway, I'm really not following this. If Amazon asks for the same deals then why hasn't this been thrown out already?

 

Perhaps it has something to do with the meeting which took place here, on Sunday Jan. 24, 2010:-

 

 

 

 

Bezo's boathouse.

 

"I'm not comfortable discussing the contents of that meeting." - Russell Grandinetti Vice President Kindle content, Day 4 of the kangaroo court

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post #27 of 66
Still waiting on the DOJ to go after the bankers that caused the economic meltdown.

I guess e-book pricing is more important in some alternate universe.
post #28 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

It's too bad the other publishers already settled. They might have won.

 

Not likely. I think this case is more about proving the big five publishers' guilt than Apple. They were offer a platform alternative to control their own pricing but will only do so if Apple can sign up more publishers...which from the evidences so far, are only proving these publishing CEOs had dealings in the background to band together. Had they each sign up separately and independently with Apple, this BS case would never be happening now. Amazon as a victim in this case is absolutely the biggest joke here. This also shows how sad these CEOs are, so shortsighted and lacks understanding of the direction of ebook technology.

post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techboy View Post

Had they each sign up separately and independently with Apple, this BS case would never be happening now.

 

They did sign up separately and independently with Apple, with negotiated variations in the terms of the various contracts, one of the big six publishers, Random House rejected Apple's offer altogether.

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post #30 of 66
It appears to me the only 'collusion' going on here is the DOJ and Apple's competition.
post #31 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryhorton View Post

According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, the Most Favored Nation clause in Apple's agreement is as follows:

"If, for any particular New Release in hardcover format, the then-current Customer Price at any time is or becomes higher than a customer price offered by any other reseller ("Other Customer Price"), then Publisher shall designate a new, lower Customer Price to meet such lower Other Customer Price."

 

As you can see, contrary to what is stated in this article, there is nothing at all that "precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices.", although this is what the DOJ would like you to believe.  Full coverage of the clause, its author, and its intention can be found at http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/06/05/apple-mfn-saul-ebook/.

 

But that is the beauty and genius of Apple.  They know that that argument sounds beautiful.  The problem is combined with their guaranteed 30% revenue- it is the equivalent of forcing higher prices while 'sounding' like it allows lower prices.  The DoJ is going to have a hard time.

 

Publishers all independently decided to raise their prices so they could support Apples 30% profit margin.  From 9.99 to 12.99...

Lets say something crazy happened- like competition driving the price down to 9.99....

Publishers would be back to making little from other bookstores and they would be going out of business from Apple- where they would only be selling books for 6 dollars (since at the 9.99 point apple would be guaranteed a little over 3 dollars of that).

The MFN forces publishers to keep their prices at a point that is profitable even with Apples 30% rake- where other sellers are not guaranteed that same rake.  So Apples plan was to 'help publishers' with the competitions money, and keep their own.  Pretty amazing.

post #32 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryhorton View Post

According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, the Most Favored Nation clause in Apple's agreement is as follows:

"If, for any particular New Release in hardcover format, the then-current Customer Price at any time is or becomes higher than a customer price offered by any other reseller ("Other Customer Price"), then Publisher shall designate a new, lower Customer Price to meet such lower Other Customer Price."

 

As you can see, contrary to what is stated in this article, there is nothing at all that "precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices.", although this is what the DOJ would like you to believe.  Full coverage of the clause, its author, and its intention can be found at http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/06/05/apple-mfn-saul-ebook/.

 

Actually, it says exactly that. The publisher could set prices differently for different resellers, but whatever the lowest price was always what Apple's price would be. It couldn't set a price of $13.99 for Apple and $10.99 for Amazon. If it tried to do that, the Apple price became $10.99. Although it could do the reverse, say set a price of $10.99 for Apple and $13.99 for Amazon.

post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ybfmiami View Post

What a waste of resources this stupid DOJ action represents!

Agreed. With all the humongous nonsense swirling around them -- fast and furious, tracking and criminalizing reporters, etc -- you'd think they had more important things to do. Maroons.
post #34 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

"I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that." - Judge Cote prior to the start of the trial.

 

What an absolute farce this is, now hurry up and find Apple guilty you moronic Judge, an appeal to the Supreme Court awaits and that should put an end to this incompetence.


Why are you blaming the judge?

post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryhorton View Post

According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, the Most Favored Nation clause in Apple's agreement is as follows:
"If, for any particular New Release in hardcover format, the then-current Customer Price at any time is or becomes higher than a customer price offered by any other reseller ("Other Customer Price"), then Publisher shall designate a new, lower Customer Price to meet such lower Other Customer Price."

As you can see, contrary to what is stated in this article, there is nothing at all that "precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices.", although this is what the DOJ would like you to believe.  Full coverage of the clause, its author, and its intention can be found at 
http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/06/05/apple-mfn-saul-ebook/.

PED is truly one of the smartest, most careful tech reporters out there. Also writes beautifully.

I wish AI could get him to write a weekly column.
post #36 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post


Why are you blaming the judge?

 

See where I quoted the Judge.

 

See where the Judge made a determination on the case before being presented with all the evidence.

 

See how the evidence that is coming out is falling apart in a shambles which supports the position I have held since day one i.e. that Apple has done nothing wrong and will be exonerated.

 

That's why I'm "blaming the judge".

 

So the sooner she finds Apple guilty, opening grounds for an appeal to the supreme court, the better.

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post #37 of 66

DOJ Lawyer: Apple's competitor, do you have anything bad to say about Apple?

Competitor: Yes, I have first hand knowledge they did bad, bad things.

Apple Lawyer: What is that first hand knowledge?

Competitor: A lawyer told me he overhead a conversation in a some bar. He can't remember which, because he was pretty buzzed.

post #38 of 66
"...what is known in the business as an agency model, which allows content owners to set pricing under a most favored nations clause. The clause precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices"

This is misleading. It suggests that there is a minimum-price, and there isn't. What it DOES say is that, if the publisher offers a lower price, then it must offer the same, lower price also to Apple.
post #39 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to The Verge, by the end of Turvey's interview, he had gone from saying publishing executives spoke with him directly, to conceding they "likely" told someone on his team about Apple's purportedly aggressive tactics.

In the end, it doesn't matter. It's hearsay, whether they told him directly or told one of his team members. As such, it's meaningless.
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post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


In the end, it doesn't matter. It's hearsay, whether they told him directly or told one of his team members. As such, it's meaningless.

 

Not according to the DoJ and their stooge of a judge.

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