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Apple and DOJ present closing arguments in e-books antitrust trial

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Department of Justice's case against Apple over alleged e-book price fixing came to an end on Thursday, with both sides presenting standard closing summations to Judge Denise Cote, each reiterating arguments asserted over the past two weeks.

Summation
Apple's closing slide in its e-book antitrust case. | Source: U.S. District Court


Starting off the proceedings on Thursday was Apple's lead counsel Orin Snyder, who, according to AllThingsD, argued that the Justice Department failed to meet its burden of proof in alleging Apple colluded with five major book publishers to falsely inflate the prices of e-books sold in the iBookstore.

Snyder went further, saying that the DOJ went too far in prosecuting Apple for legal business maneuvering.

"Apple did not conspire with a single publisher to fix prices in the e-book industry," Snyder said, adding the e-book pricing negotiations were "standard, lawful business activity. All of the government's evidence is ambiguous at best."

The Justice Department is accusing Apple of fixing the prices of e-books sold through its iBookstore under a so-called "agency" pricing model, in which content owners are not able to sell the same titles at a cheaper cost elsewhere without offering Apple the same price. This was in contrast with the wholesale model used by market leader Amazon. Under that strategy, resellers held the power as content was purchased from publishers and could be sold at or below cost.

Apple's summation was very much in line with its opening arguments, which claimed the DOJ's case was "bizarre." Part of the government's argument was that Apple's pricing negotiations hurt consumers by forcing other retailers to also adopt agency.

During testimony earlier this week, Apple's vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said he "didn't care" about what prices publishers negotiated with other retailers like Amazon.

In its closing slide deck, Apple ended with a picture of an iPad running iBooks, with the words "It's time to close the book on this case" showing in bold black print.

After evidentiary presentation wrapped up yesterday, Judge Cote said "issues have changed," a remark some take to mean the DOJ failed to prove any wrongdoing on the part of Apple. The jurist offered a "tentative view" before the trial got underway on June 3, saying that from what evidence she had seen, the Justice Department would likely be able to prove Apple was culpable.



Speaking for the DOJ, lawyer Mark Ryan reiterated that Apple's alleged collusion drove e-book prices from the prevailing $9.99 price set by Amazon to $12.99 and $14.99, reports Reuters.

"Only a united industry front could move Amazon off its $9.99 price," he said.

During Ryan's summation, Judge Cote asked him to respond to an argument Apple pitched earlier in the week, and again on Thursday, claiming that certain e-books wouldn't have been available at any price without the pricing model set forth by the iBookstore. The statement, made by Snyder, was in reference to a tactic called windowing, in which publishers would hold off on releasing titles on e-book until the more lucrative hardcover version had been on shelves for a few weeks. Without Apple's model, those titles would not have been immediately available as e-books.

Ryan rejected Apple's argument. Previously, he presented statistics showing that only publishers windowed only 37 books in 2009, the year prior to the introduction of the iPad and iBooks.

"We don't know what course competition would have taken the industry on," Ryan said.



Judge Cote is expected to consider the evidence and hand down a ruling in the coming months. There is no set date or deadline, though it usually takes an average of two months to reach a decision in bench trials of this magnitude. If the government wins the case, another trial will commence over damages asserted by 33 state attorneys general.
post #2 of 21

Apple seems likely to do OK here from what I've read, but I know little really.

 

So just this here: AI's writers need to learn to turn off smart punctuation before they cut and paste into the site's posting mechanism and/or the editors need to be on better watch for punctuation that doesn't translate to ASCII.  This kind of stuff happens all the time...
 

  • ?Apple did not conspire with a single publisher to fix prices in the e-book industry,? Snyder said, adding the e-book pricing negotiations were ?standard, lawful business activity. All of the government?s evidence is ambiguous at best.?

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #3 of 21
Judge Cote's ruling:

willy-wonka-you-get-nothing.gif
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Apple seems likely to do OK here from what I've read, but I know little really.

 

So just this here: AI's writers need to learn to turn off smart punctuation before they cut and paste into the site's posting mechanism and/or the editors need to be on better watch for punctuation that doesn't translate to ASCII.  This kind of stuff happens all the time...
 

  • ?Apple did not conspire with a single publisher to fix prices in the e-book industry,? Snyder said, adding the e-book pricing negotiations were ?standard, lawful business activity. All of the government?s evidence is ambiguous at best.?

 

It's a big problem and the site's owners seem quite oblivious to the visible evidence.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

So just this here: AI's writers need to learn to turn off smart punctuation before they cut and paste into the site's posting mechanism and/or the editors need to be on better watch for punctuation that doesn't translate to ASCII.  This kind of stuff happens all the time...

Huddler has a problem translating quotation marks from the regular site to the forum itself.

They don't seem to care. 1hmm.gif
post #6 of 21
IGZO panel. Because someone always mentions it in a thread.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Huddler has a problem translating quotation marks from the regular site to the forum itself.

They don't seem to care. 1hmm.gif

I provided a detail explanation for this a while back. They are treating ASCII CP1252 text as Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1). ASCII values 145-148 and 151 need to be properly converted. To keep the curly quotes in UTF-8, these need to be U+2018-U+201D and U+2014. If converting to Latin-1, you'll need to convert these to straight quotes and short dash (ASCII 34, 39, and 45). Latin-1 has no curly quotes or long dash. Alternatively, make sure the database keeps CP1252 encoding instead of casting away the encoding to Latin-1.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's a big problem and the site's owners seem quite oblivious to the visible evidence.

The site's owners seem quite oblivious.

there. fixed that.
"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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post #9 of 21

It was a horror going through "Apple Summation by Mikey Campbell" thingi" and I give up on the rest tonight. The bottle of scotch is much lower to my recollection from when I started. I may try again tomorrow. Hopefully, Hopefully stelligent will give me a break and won't be round to find probs with my English tonight. I'm wiped and can't remember a thing I read.

 

PS: who's Kasper's? Is that DED?


Edited by mhikl - 6/20/13 at 9:21pm

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhikl View Post

PS: who's Kasper's? Is that DED?

 

Kasper is DED's friendly ghost.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #11 of 21
I often wonder how many pseudonyms DED is using.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #12 of 21

Apple and DOJ present closing arguments in e-books antitrust trial

Apple Counsel closing argument:

 

"Your Honour, Apple only ever wanted to bring down the prices of books so that even Android users could afford them, as we'd heard that they were so poor that, if you were to offer to sell a book to them for a dollar, they'd say, "What's a dollar?""

 

(Yes, it appears I'm going to keep going with these until one of you kills me)

Android: pitting every phone company in the world against one, getting a higher number, and considering it a major achievement.
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Android: pitting every phone company in the world against one, getting a higher number, and considering it a major achievement.
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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I often wonder how many pseudonyms DED is using.

We're all DED. You're the only one who isn't. It's time you finally knew. 1cool.gif
post #14 of 21

Reading the government slides, its astounding how low of a burden they need to reach.  They don't have to provide proof, or even real evidence of a crime, or even that there was an agreement!

 

Time to repeal anti-trust law as it is only used to abuse the market-- as in this case where Obama's boys are doing amazon's bidding. 

post #15 of 21

Here's what I don't understand: Apple negotiate a contract that make that say: (a) publishers can set whatever prices they want; (b) Apple will take a cut of that price; and (c) if another competitor has it for less, Apple can price match, and both the publishers and Apple get a smaller pie. That sounds perfectly legal to me. There's no conspiracy to raise prices, publishers set whatever price they want to. Apple just happily passes on the cost to the consumers. There has no been no evidence so far that says Apple want publishers to price it at $X minimum. That email from Steve Jobs were never sent, so it's doubtful if anybody has seen it or know of his intention without this court case.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

We're all DED. You're the only one who isn't. It's time you finally knew. 1cool.gif

Ultimately, we're all DED. All that matters is how you choose to live the life you're given...

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post #17 of 21
So if Apple win and the DoJ obviously loses does that mean there was no pricing fixing at all and the publisher can asking for their money back since if apple was the kind pin and that proves out not be true then the case the DoJ had against the publisher was also not based in fact either.

I said it before the Publish had wimps for lawyers and they advise their clients to settle verse fighting and it cost them more than if they fought.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

So if Apple win and the DoJ obviously loses does that mean there was no pricing fixing at all and the publisher can asking for their money back since if apple was the kind pin and that proves out not be true then the case the DoJ had against the publisher was also not based in fact either.

Nope. The publishers settled for their own reasons, but without admitting guilt.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

So if Apple win and the DoJ obviously loses does that mean there was no pricing fixing at all and the publisher can asking for their money back since if apple was the kind pin and that proves out not be true then the case the DoJ had against the publisher was also not based in fact either.

I said it before the Publish had wimps for lawyers and they advise their clients to settle verse fighting and it cost them more than if they fought.

That's nonsense.

If Apple wins, it simply means that Apple was not proven guilty of criminal conspiracy. It says absolutely nothing about whether the publishers might have conspired.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #20 of 21

It's funny; I keep reading that Amazon has used the wholesale model to sell ebooks at or below cost. If Amazon were an offshore chip manufacturer using such predatory pricing to "dump" chips in the U. S. market, you can be the DOJ would be siding with the USDOC, not Amazon. Since there are different rules for international vs. domestic trade, the idea there may be "material harm" to the publishers from Amazon's "predatory pricing" isn't even on the table. I think this makes US look ambiguous at best, perhaps just goofy to the international community. 

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


That's nonsense.

If Apple wins, it simply means that Apple was not proven guilty of criminal conspiracy. It says absolutely nothing about whether the publishers might have conspired.

 

But, aren't the publisher's forbidden from agency pricing for (I think) 2 years? I think Apple could make a strong case that such a prohibition interferes in the market in such a way that punishes, not the publishers, but retailers other than Amazon, in effect giving Amazon free reign during that period to engage in whatever predatory pricing they choose to in order to reestablish their monopoly control.

 

I hope Apple, B&N, et al. would challenge these settlements for that reason and get them overturned. It seems pretty clear that the DoJ was manipulated into the specific terms of these settlements and that they will, over time, cause harm to consumers, as well as the entire industry.

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