Judge says evidence will likely show Apple culpable in e-book price fixing case

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  • Reply 41 of 136
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,710member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    I guess you never buy gasoline.



    Gas prices in most cities are within a few cents of each other - no matter where you shop. And when there's an increase, all the stations increase prices at the same time. It's not uncommon for prices to jump by $0.10 to $0.15 per gallon at every single retailer in my city overnight.



    There's absolutely nothing illegal about watching to see what competitors do and then matching it.


    There's a mandatory minimum price on gasoline? Having owned independent (not oil company owned or controlled) convenience stores I can factually state that wasn't the case. While the wholesale price didn't vary all that much from supplier to supplier (but it did vary unlike the book agreement) we were free to set our own retail price, even selling at a loss if we wanted. In fact we sometimes ran nickel-off-gas Friday afternoon sales to encourage those folks with freshly-cashed paychecks to stop by for their profitable beer and cigarette purchases too. Some even bought candy for the kids.image


     


    Running a sale on new-release "Best-selling" books to pull in buyers of other products was something the new contracts from that group of publishers wouldn't permit. Your comparison to gasoline sales isn't similar at all.


     


    No doubt you already knew the flaw in your comparison anyway. . . I hope.

  • Reply 42 of 136
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Because those "opinions" are irrelevant given the context. He was sympathizing to the other party's fears of entering into a risky deal that could fail by acknowledging that it could fail, however he needed to do something soon or else Amazon could take his entire e-book profits in the future. Salesman tactics.

    So no, it wasn't his "opinion". He masked it as an opinion, but really he believed it wouldn't work. Why would the other publishing agencies sign the deal at the same exact $12.99?

    1) You'll need to prove that Jobs had absolutely no doubts about the future before you attempt to continue but what I find interesting is this pedestal you're placing Jobs on. You really think he had no doubts or concerns? I do. Sure, he had many great successes in business but there are plenty of examples of him not getting it right which tell a reasonable person that Jobs was fallible.

    2) So why the $12.99 (which was not the price for all books) and not the $14.99 price that was also mentioned in his emails? If you think it's impossible for publishers that have been selling against each other to have researched and come up with a similar pricing model then you'll have to prove they were colluding, but you have yet to show, much less even mention, that they've also then must have colluded with print books for at least decades now.
  • Reply 43 of 136
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member

    We have only a snapshot of what is being presented. Don't you think we should give the judge the benefit of the doubt given her training, knowledge and experience, not to mention her access to the body of evidence unavailable to us (even if it still is incomplete)?

    There is simply no basis for us to judge. Fine, we are entitled to our opinions. But to agree with slamming a judge?

    Judges are appointed. Generally politics are the basis for the appointment, not all the other qualities you mention. Further, judges don't always understand the issues before them because district courts hear so many different types of cases.

    Anybody is entitled to an opinion based on the evidence they have seen. Moreover, this judge displayed bias at the onset of this case, and it is odd to offer such an opinion before a trial.
  • Reply 44 of 136
    mwhitecomwhiteco Posts: 112member


    In 1970 I worked for a gas station and the corporation everyday would ask us what the stations near us was selling gas for when we told them they would say to lower or raise ours to be a couple cents lower than the other stations.

     

  • Reply 45 of 136
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tbell wrote: »
    Good point. I, however, hope Apple opted for a jury trial because the judge made comments when the case first started she thought Apple likely guilty.

    Are juries ever a good move for corporations, especially ones as large as Apple, even if you're not guilty, if the plaintiffs can plant a seed that it's the big bad corporation trying to stick it to the little guy? We've seen many times before just on this forum the "they can afford it" mantra. I would imagine that would carry over to a jury of Apple's non-peers, too.
  • Reply 46 of 136
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    mwhiteco wrote: »
    In 1970 I worked for a gas station and the corporation everyday would ask us what the stations near us was selling gas for when we told them they would say to lower or raise ours to be a couple cents lower than the other stations.

    Collusion!
  • Reply 47 of 136
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,710member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Collusion!


    Price competition!

  • Reply 48 of 136
    mrrodriguezmrrodriguez Posts: 215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    And if and when they do we'll read and judge them accordingly, but you're being a hypocrite here. You start off by saying that she's entitled to her educated guess on the evidence she's seen but then say we aren't allowed to speak up on the evidence we've seen.




    I never said AI weren't allowed to speak on the evidence, but AI talks about how ridiculous this judge is for making a pre-judgement based on MUCH MORE evidence than has been released, yet AI wants to make a judgement based on the LIMITED evidence released.


     


    I can understand if people want to interpret the evidence released as "Not enough", but to bash a judge who has the entire case in her hands is just childish and fanboyish.

  • Reply 49 of 136
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Because those "opinions" are irrelevant given the context. He was sympathizing to the other party's fears of entering into a risky deal that could fail by acknowledging that it could fail, however he needed to do something soon or else Amazon could take his entire e-book profits in the future. Salesman tactics.

    So no, it wasn't his "opinion". He masked it as an opinion, but really he believed it wouldn't work. Why would the other publishing agencies sign the deal at the same exact $12.99?

    They all signed at the same prices because that is the pricing structure wanted. As long as Apple approached them individually, which the Murdoch email suggests it did, there is no collusion.
  • Reply 50 of 136
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Dismissal on what grounds? And if she's seen evidence most of us haven't, and made an estimated guess as to the outcome, I don't see how most of AI is saying there is no case. Apple is not a godlike company that does no wrong. They only released a few emails, yet they have a lot more evidence to support a price fixing scheme. They might have emails of Apple consulting with the other publishers and pushing their $12.99 price, and telling publishers about the evil Amazon model.

    Based on the grounds of preconceived bias. She admits that she only saw some of the evidence and has already reached a decision on the probable outcome. That's bias.

    As for the rest, there's a lot of talk and a lot of innuendo, but in all of this, no one has released anything that shows that Apple clearly participated in price fixing.

    gatorguy wrote: »
    There's a mandatory minimum price on gasoline? Having owned independent (not oil company owned or controlled) convenience stores I can factually state that wasn't the case. While the wholesale price didn't vary all that much from supplier to supplier (but it did vary unlike the book agreement) we were free to set our own retail price, even selling at a loss if we wanted. In fact we sometimes ran nickel-off-gas Friday afternoon sales to encourage those folks with freshly-cashed paychecks to stop by for their profitable beer and cigarette purchases too. Some even bought candy for the kids.<img alt="1biggrin.gif" id="user_yui_3_7_3_1_1369396103706_1632" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies/1biggrin.gif" style="line-height:1.231;" name="user_yui_3_7_3_1_1369396103706_1632">


    Running a sale on new-release "Best-selling" books to pull in buyers of other products was something the new contracts from that group of publishers wouldn't permit. Your comparison to gasoline sales isn't similar at all.

    No doubt you already knew the flaw in your comparison anyway. . . I hope.

    No one ever said there was a minimum price for gasoline. You claimed that there must be collusion because the publishers all came up with the same price. I posted a counterexample - gasoline pricing - which demonstrates that it's possible for all the retailers to have the same price without colluding. Instead of admitting that you were wrong, you do your usual nonsense of making straw man arguments and pretending that it was about minimum prices.

    i.e., you were wrong. As usual.
    tbell wrote: »
    Judges are appointed. Generally politics are the basis for the appointment, not all the other qualities you mention. Further, judges don't always understand the issues before them because district courts hear so many different types of cases.

    Anybody is entitled to an opinion based on the evidence they have seen. Moreover, this judge displayed bias at the onset of this case, and it is odd to offer such an opinion before a trial.

    Actually, in some cases, judges are elected. Of course, that doesn't change anything else you said - knowledge of the law is certainly not a prerequisite for getting elected.
  • Reply 51 of 136
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member

    I never said AI weren't allowed to speak on the evidence, but AI talks about how ridiculous this judge is for making a pre-judgement based on MUCH MORE evidence than has been released, yet AI wants to make a judgement based on the LIMITED evidence released.

    I can understand if people want to interpret the evidence released as "Not enough", but to bash a judge who has the entire case in her hands is just childish and fanboyish.

    I agree with others that it seems odd that a judge is speaking up publicly about how she thinks a case will go before she hears the plaintiff and defendant argue their cases, but perhaps that's just something we need to expect in a modern era of communication.

    I don't see it calling for a mistrial because she wasn't tightlipped about her initial impression but it does make me wonder: What if someone on a jury heard a judge chime in about a case instead of just presiding over it, would that affect their opinion? Will the judge also state her opinions of guilt and innocence during the trial?

    Sure, we're all bias by nature because we are finite by nature, but the courts are suppose to be blind despite being run by man. I think this weighing in well before the trial begins is just calling into question the adage "innocent until proven guilty." This goes for everyone, which includes if Judge Koh had said long before the trial that she will likely side against Samsung in last year's case with Apple.
  • Reply 52 of 136
    macmtnmanmacmtnman Posts: 17member
    Have any of you ever actually been inside a book store? Notice how the book comes with prices already printed on it from the publisher?
  • Reply 53 of 136
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,710member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

    No one ever said there was a minimum price for gasoline. You claimed that there must be collusion because the publishers all came up with the same price. I posted a counterexample - gasoline pricing - which demonstrates that it's possible for all the retailers to have the same price without colluding. Instead of admitting that you were wrong, you do your usual nonsense of making straw man arguments and pretending that it was about minimum prices.



    i.e., you were wrong. As usual.

     


    Oh geez o'Pete JR. The publishers set a minimum retail price as you well know or should. What would that have to do with minimum wholesale price from the gas companies that you allude to, assuming that one existed?? The sellers can still offer whatever consumer prices they want. Not so under the contract terms that each of the seven major publishers "independently arrived at" without any coordination among them.

  • Reply 54 of 136
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    macmtnman wrote: »
    Have any of you ever actually been inside a book store? Notice how the book comes with prices already printed on it from the publisher?

    Ignoring your initial smarmy question what you're referring to is MSRP. US Fair Trade permits a manufacturer to set or suggest prices.

  • Reply 55 of 136
    Always wondered why e- books are as much or more as regular books
  • Reply 56 of 136

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    I guess you never buy gasoline.



    Gas prices in most cities are within a few cents of each other - no matter where you shop. And when there's an increase, all the stations increase prices at the same time. It's not uncommon for prices to jump by $0.10 to $0.15 per gallon at every single retailer in my city overnight.



    There's absolutely nothing illegal about watching to see what competitors do and then matching it.


     


    You're right, that would be perfectly legal.


     


    However, if all the gas station owners got together for dinner the night before and made an agreement to all raise their prices by $0.15 at 8:00am the next day that would be illegal.


     


    The real reasons gas prices are usually pretty much the same at all the gas stations in a town is because most of them are buying their gas from the same supplier, who charges them all the same price, so they tend to charge you the same price.  If all the gas stations in town are buying their gas from the same supplier for $3.50 a gallon, chances are they are all going to charge you around $3.60 a gallon.  Yes that is about all the profit gas stations make off gas, around $0.10 a gallon, that's why most of them sell cigarettes, snacks, food etc, that is where they make their real profits.


     


    Price matching, is not collusion.  Collusion is when the people setting the prices have a conversation and agree on a set price together.  Or they use someone as a go between to have the same conversation and knowingly set the same prices.


     


    MSRP pricing is not collusion.  That is the manufacturer's recommended price, but they don't care what you actually sell it for.  You are free to sell it for more or less if you want.


     


    MAP pricing is the lowest price a manufacturer allows you to advertise (or sometimes sell) a product for.  This still isn't collusion though as the retailers are free to sell it at a lower price without advertising it, or to include other incentives like free gift cards, etc. along with it to effectively make it cheaper tham MAP.  MAP is closer to collusion, but it still isn't because it is the product manufacturer/supplier setting the price.  The seller is technically still free to sell the product however they want, but if they ignore MAP they manufacturer/supplier can decide to no longer do business with them.


     


    If the one of the publishing companies decided on their own to set a MAP on their e-books, and to only allow their sellers to sell at or above that MAP that would have been fine.  If publisher 2 saw what publisher 1 did and decided to do the same thing that would have been fine too.  But as soon as there was a middle man (Apple) going around telling all of them what the others were doing, and trying to get them all to do the same thing, that became collusion.  As others have said, the publishers realize this and have already agreed that what they did was wrong and have moved on.  Apple just seems to be sticking their head in the sand and pretending they didn't have anything to do with it, which appears to be false.


     


    As far as the article goes, the headline did make it look like the judge was biased.  It sounded like she was leaning toward Apple being guilty before seeing any true evidence, just from her preconcieved information.  However, upon reading further you find that she has actually looked over actual evidence that is going to be presented in the case, and is using that to form an early opinion.  She even goes on to stress that it is just an earlyopinion though, and not her final judgement.  Depending on what other evidence she hasnt' seen yet, and everything that goes on in the actual proceedings could change her decision by the end, but right now she is making a prediction on what she has seen so far.  And she only made this comment because she was asked to.  It's not like she was walking around telling everyone she was out to screw Apple over.  To me this seems perfectly reasonable.

  • Reply 57 of 136
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    ""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,"

    "circumstanstial"

    So the judge has an opinion based on some of the evidence which is circumstantial? Why does the DOJ insist on releasing snippets of e-mails that look bad on their own, but in context of the entire e-mail aren't that bad at all? And why is the DOJ allowing a judge to "render a verdict" before the trial? I'm beginning to wonder why this information is even being released. Is it to pressure Apple? To get them to settle because they have a weak case?

    In a civil case most of the evidence is circumstantial, and a verdict is determined on a balance of probability. Snippets of evidence that's taken out of context is common practice.
  • Reply 58 of 136
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    In a civil case [...] a verdict is [...] out of context.

    It would seem that way. :D
  • Reply 59 of 136
    dbtincdbtinc Posts: 134member
    It always amazed me that an ebook from Apple or Amazon for that matter was always so expensive compared to the hardcover version. I refuse to believe that producing, storing and shipping represent such a small fraction of the total cost of a book. Guess profit margins for ebooks are calculated on another formula such as how much can we squeeze the customer til he goes back to hardcover?
  • Reply 60 of 136
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ...



    She was quick to note, however, that the opinion was not final as all of the evidence had yet to be accounted for.



    ...


     


    Then SHUT UP and act professional !!!!!  Seems everyone wants to grandstand these days.

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