States want Apple to pay at least $280M in e-books antitrust case, push for $840M

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  • Reply 41 of 132
    The state attorneys general suing Apple for price fixing are seeking $280 million in damages and will ask that the court order the award tripled to $840 million in advance of an upcoming damages trial, a new report says.

    <div align="center"><img src="http://photos.appleinsidercdn.com/13.06.20-e-book_Summation.jpg" alt="Summation" width="660" height="396" border="0"><br><span class="minor2 small gray">Apple's closing slide in its e-book antitrust case. | Source: U.S. District Court</span></div>

    The demands were made in a memorandum filed Friday with Judge Denise Cote, the federal judge presiding over the case, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-01/apple-should-pay-840-million-over-e-books-states-say.html">according to</a> <em>Bloomberg.</em> The plaintiffs argue that Apple should be subjected to treble damages thanks to the company's "conclusively proven" role as the scheme's leader.

    "The three cases pending before this court allege the same conspiracy, by the same conspirators, with the same goals, methods, and effects," the memo reportedly read. The document was sealed upon submission.

    Apple was found <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/10/judge-rules-apple-conspired-to-raise-e-book-prices">guilty</a> last July of joining with five major publishers in a conspiracy to fix the price of e-books. As a result of the verdict --?which is still under <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/08/09/apples-bid-to-suspend-ruling-in-e-books-price-fixing-case-denied-by-judge">appeal</a> --?the company was forced to alter its agreements with publishers and was assigned an external antitrust compliance monitor, a penalty which Apple is also <a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/161670/apple-wins-temporary-reprieve-from-monitor-in-e-books-antitrust-case">fighting</a>.

    A new trial to determine damages in the case is set for May of this year.
  • Reply 42 of 132
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Steve Jobs would have argued that without Apple's involvement, publishers would not have a legitimate alternative to Amazon, the eBooks would not have taken off they way it did, and the ripple effect could have caused millions of jobs in the publishing industry and beyond. 

    To focus the argument solely on consumer price and not pricing model or the actual contracts between Apple and publishers, is not only shortsighted but also clearly misunderstood how free market works.

    The free market allows whomever is clever enough and sells the most wins- Apple w eMusic, Amazon w eBooks. It also allows allows the consumer to be free to make a choice and not be elbowed into paying for something at 50% more than it previously had. Again if it was illegal why didn't anyone take Amazon to court including Apple rather than collude?
  • Reply 43 of 132
    What precise damage was done and to whom? Merely asking for a huge legal settlement may appear to be de- regular in America, however, proven damages do or should, be demonstrated. If a customer has harmed then a rebate should be in order, but this is not per consumer a great deal of money. I think that they see a moneybags company and they want an easy piece of the cash. This shows the decline of America in that it is that one sues for money rather than working for it. China is going to wipe our clocks one day and we'll be asking the reason for our predicament.
  • Reply 44 of 132
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post





    Thompson - Apple could have simply offered the books at a even lower price and competed as Amazon does and most other companies do. And if what you say is fact and it was illegal then why didn't any publisher ever sue Amazon?

    P

    It wasn't something the publishers could sue over.  It was something the Justice Department should have sued over and didn't.  Instead of taking on the illegal monopolist the brilliant Mr. Holder sued the company trying to break the monopoly in a way that will soon be judged legal by the appeals court.  

  • Reply 45 of 132
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post





    The free market allows whomever is clever enough and sells the most wins- Apple w eMusic, Amazon w eBooks. It also allows allows the consumer to be free to make a choice and not be elbowed into paying for something at 50% more than it previously had. Again if it was illegal why didn't anyone take Amazon to court including Apple rather than collude?

    Please try to learn something about the legal system before asking silly accusative (against Apple) questions like that.  Only the Justice Department could sue for predatory pricing. 

  • Reply 46 of 132
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,511member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post





    Thompson - Apple could have simply offered the books at a even lower price and competed as Amazon does and most other companies do. And if what you say is fact and it was illegal then why didn't any publisher ever sue Amazon?

    P

    Most merchants do not attempt to resell items below cost, with the exception of temporary promotions or sales to drive foot traffic (or in the case of online "eye traffic").  Keyword there is temporary, like Cyber-Monday-temporary.  At Amazon, eBooks were on a perpetual Cyber Monday sale. Most companies would go out of business doing that as standard practice.  Although Apple is certainly big enough to, since it makes so much profit elsewhere, it does not play that game, nor should it.  If you have a monopoly in a market, such as eBooks, and your standard pricing is so low that you are losing money just to keep competition away, that is illegal.  Go look it up if you must.

     

    Why didn't the publishers sue Amazon?  Well they did complain about Amazon's pricing policies.  But as much as they feared Amazon's power in the eBooks market, they were also dependent on it.  Amazon sells a hell of a lot of books - including physical ones.  So the publishers could grumble, but they were somewhat helpless.

     

    Thompson

  • Reply 47 of 132
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    The average e-book price went down if you follow the facts.

    So please explain how's that possible if Amazon was selling ebooks at a loss? Or does it mean that Amazon was selling most ebooks at a more than healthy profit?
  • Reply 48 of 132
    pazuzu wrote: »
    Thompson - Apple could have simply offered the books at a even lower price and competed as Amazon does and most other companies do. And if what you say is fact and it was illegal then why didn't any publisher ever sue Amazon?
    P

    Because Amazon operates at a loss? You could sue them and never collect.
  • Reply 49 of 132
    I hate this commenting system. It's a mess on an iPhone.
  • Reply 50 of 132
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    So please explain how's that possible if Amazon was selling ebooks at a loss? Or does it mean that Amazon was selling most ebooks at a more than healthy profit?

     

    Amazon was selling many best sellers at a loss, that's what was bothering publishers so much and preventing new entrants into the market.  People won't give your store a second look if they can only find Moby Dick and Tale of Two Cities cheaper than at Amazon.  I never claimed that the average best seller price went down, just the average of all ebooks and it's a documented fact.

  • Reply 51 of 132
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

     

     

    Amazon was selling many best sellers at a loss, that's what was bothering publishers so much and preventing new entrants into the market.  People won't give your store a second look if they can only find Moby Dick and Tale of Two Cities cheaper than at Amazon.  I never claimed that the average best seller price went down, just the average of all ebooks and it's a documented fact


     

    Irrelevant fact when it doesn't apply to to accused publishers

  • Reply 52 of 132
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    tzeshan wrote: »
    I have two questions.
    First, what is the difference of the agency model in iBook store with the App Store?
    Two, what has changed in the iBook agency model?

    One it isn't different. Since one can only buy apps from Apple's App Store you'll never see a difference in price. Amazon basically started the ebook market and went with the wholesale model in which they control the price, the publishers have little to no say in the final selling price, they get a agreed upon price from Amazon for every ebook sold.

    With the agency model the publishers set the price and Apple gets a 30% cut, so in order for them to get the same amount from Apple as they do from Amazon they had to raise the price.

    Two, after the ruling Apple had to tear up the contracts with the publishers and negotiate new ones with the condition that it negotiate with the publishers one at a time instead of collectively.
  • Reply 53 of 132
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,511member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post





    The free market allows whomever is clever enough and sells the most wins- Apple w eMusic, Amazon w eBooks. It also allows allows the consumer to be free to make a choice and not be elbowed into paying for something at 50% more than it previously had. Again if it was illegal why didn't anyone take Amazon to court including Apple rather than collude?

    Some would argue that if there is only one large player in a market and if it employs predatory pricing to keep it that way, then that is not an example of a "free market".  Free market theory is based upon the concept of entities (aka companies) who are trying to profit from their operations but are willing to seek out efficiencies and price advantages to gain an upper hand... but always with the goal of ending up with a profit.  In the eBooks market, Amazon was not doing that.  They haven't made nearly enough from Kindles (which is also priced with little to no margin) to use that as an argument.

     

    Why no smaller company ever sued Amazon is a question I can't answer.  And I already answered earlier why the publishers didn't sue:  Amazon was one of their biggest resellers, including both electronic and physical books.  Best not to bite the hand that feeds you.  But I know why Apple wasn't going to come right out and sue:  they needed iBooks to come bundled with their soon-to-be-announced iPad, and they came up with a solution that would save them an extended court case and simultaneously keep their projects a secret until time for their big reveal.  An understandably Apple-like thing to do.

     

    Thompson

  • Reply 54 of 132
    Just the facts please...

    How many e-books that these states purchased were supposedly "price fixed"?

    What was the cost increase of each e-book due to this alleged price fixing?

    Will the states be able to stick with their original publishers under the new plan, or will they be forced to go to a new publisher? And how much more will they pay?
  • Reply 55 of 132
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    pazuzu wrote: »
    If memory serves Steve Jobs arm twisted and would not let you into the iTunes Store unless you agreed to sell your songs individually at 99cents which is why many artists at the time balked.

    Sure that is what happened, but Apple didn't have an established position in the music industry at the time. Amazon controls online book sales, and used that power to force concessions in the eBook market. Different animal entirely.
  • Reply 56 of 132
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    thompr wrote: »
    Why no smaller company ever sued Amazon is a question I can't answer.

    No smaller company would be ever get the right to sell best sellers, and whatever ebooks that did sell was probably priced similarly at Amazon.
  • Reply 57 of 132
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post



    I hate this commenting system. It's a mess on an iPhone.

    It's a mess. Period.

  • Reply 58 of 132
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    tbell wrote: »
    Sure that is what happened, but Apple didn't have an established position in the music industry at the time. Amazon controls online book sales, and used that power to force concessions in the eBook market. Different animal entirely.

    Apple was selling millions of iPods at the time so it had a already made plethora of potential customers. There was also rampant piracy which put Apple in a position of power over the industry. Apple was able to set the market and set the price, but in this instance they were late comers.
  • Reply 59 of 132

    When Amazon is finally sued for monopolistic behavior and loses, revealing the government witch hunt here, I demand that every single government website hold a link apologizing to Apple for their behavior.

  • Reply 60 of 132
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    Amazon was selling many best sellers at a loss, that's what was bothering publishers so much and preventing new entrants into the market.  People won't give your store a second look if they can only find Moby Dick and Tale of Two Cities cheaper than at Amazon.  I never claimed that the average best seller price went down, just the average of all ebooks and it's a documented fact.

    Good point, but next time don't use books that were bestsellers in the 1850s as examples. :lol:
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