Apple to pay $450M fine after US Supreme Court rejects e-book antitrust appeal

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 71
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,508member
    EDIT: Reply deleted. Probably a wasted effort to try and change a closed mind.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 42 of 71
    bulldogsbulldogs Posts: 37member

    sog35 said:

    gatorguy said:
    Here's some homework. Go to Yahoo stocks and pull up a year-to-date chart on Apple. Then use the comparison tool and add both GOOG and MSFT to the chart. Do you see any relationship?
    Look at last years chart for Google vs Apple.  Who cares what the YTD chart shows.  That's only 2 months of data.

    Google was up 45% in 2015
    Apple was down 4% in 2015

    There is no relationship between the companies.
    Saying "Google and Microsoft are going down hard" is funny. If they do, who is going to take their place?
    For example, if Google goes away, who is #1 in search? What replaces YouTube? Gmail? 
    Microsoft goes down hard ... what are all those SQL Server enterprise databases going to migrate to? The Azure cloud users (which includes Apple)? Oh yeah: what is going to take over 75%-80% of the PC operating system share? Funny ... the most likely candidate to is ChromeOS (or more accurately the ChromeOS/Android hybrid). Which is made by Google. tenly said:
    sog35 said:
    The amount of jobs and small companies Amazon has ruined is mind blowing.

    Makes me sick that a company like Amazon can undercut the competition by selling goods below cost.
    Amazon stays afloat because they pay most of their executives with stock options instead of cash.  And Wall Street keeps inflating Amazon stock, so they are part of the scam also.

    How is selling goods below cost NOT anti-competitive?  How can other companies compete if Amazon is willing to take losses on every book they sell?
    Is this situation not comparable to what Microsoft did in the 90's with web-browsers?  They sold Internet Explorer below cost (free) by bundling it into Windows  in a clear attempt to put Netscape and everyone else who were selling web browsers out of business.  But in that case, the government enacted restrictions against Microsoft to prevent the monopoly - so I don't get why in the Amazon e-books case they have done the opposite and they are PROTECTING Amazon's monopoly.
    No one was selling web browsers. Everyone was giving them away for free. Just as everyone is STILL giving them away for free. (For goodness sakes ...)
    "the government enacted restrictions against Microsoft to prevent the monopoly"
    all the government did was force Microsoft to unbundle IE from Windows. Back then, a person who wanted to uninstall IE couldn't because Windows would not run properly without it. And by the way ... IE is still free. As it always was. As every other browser always been.

    "so I don't get why in the Amazon e-books case they have done the opposite and they are PROTECTING Amazon's monopoly."

    The same reason why they didn't stop Wal-Mart from doing the same. Wal-Mart is notorious for underselling in order to drive local competition out of business ... and then raising prices again when they are the only player in the area.

    Price isn't the sole reason why Amazon has a "monopoly." 
    1. Amazon got into e-books first. Lots of people who have been with them from the beginning stay there because of brand loyalty. It will remain that way until a company comes up with a better product - or a cheaper product - that gives them a reason to switch. Apple failed to come up with a better product, and we know that they aren't going to come up with a cheaper one, so they tried to rig the game by colluding with publishers to raise prices. Which is illegal. Remember: the primary role of antitrust actions isn't to benefit companies (or in this case, any single company like Apple). Instead, it is to benefit the consumer. Any action that drives up prices - at a negative impact to the consumer - will draw government action. Driving prices down, the government rightly assumes that the consumer benefits and lets it alone. You would have to make the case that artists, publishing companies etc. are being harmed by Amazon's underselling, or that Amazon's actions result in less books being in the market. While some companies and artists have complained, on balance it is the opposite: Amazon's e-book operation has greatly reduced the barrier of entry. It is A LOT easier to become a published author now than before, and some companies devoted entirely to e-books exist. Other authors sold a ton of e-books through Amazon and were able to sign deals with traditional publishing houses as a result. Even with traditional printed books, Amazon lists self-published books that would never be sold by a brick-and-mortar bookstore. So basically, what you want is for the government to allow Apple to collude with publishers to create a favorable market for themselves. That presumes that it is the job of the government to protect Apple's desire to be a bookseller, and moreover to make as large a profit selling books as Apple wants. It isn't. 

    2. Funny ... the people who are aghast at the monopolies that Apple's competitors have are/were fine with Apple having the monopoly. Apple fans WANT Apple to be the only real player selling smartphones and tablets, for instance. But here is the deal: Apple once had their own monopoly. It was called the iPod and iTunes. As with Amazon, they created their product first, getting all the early adopters and earning brand loyalty, both with record companies, artists and consumers. As with Amazon's product, no one else was able to come up with a better music player to earn switchers. Unlike with Android and computers, Apple chose to maintain an inexpensive product, the iPod Shuffle, to prevent competitors from gaining a foothold with cheaper devices. Also, with $.99 per song, $7.99 per album - and frequent sales - no one, not even Wal-Mart (who attempted to offer a competing platform that plugged into Windows Media Player and Zune) was able to really compete selling music with iTunes either (until the smartphone basically ended the era and created competition in this space again, including later developments like the streaming service and YouTube/Vevo). Now I do not recall anyone successfully challenging Apple over the $35 iPod Shuffle or the $.99/$7.99 thing. And ironically, the company that did the best job of competing with iTunes and Apple in that era for digital music downloads? Why, Amazon of course. And even Amazon had the good sense to automatically import their downloaded songs into iTunes rather than to try to lock people into their own music player. 

    There is no compelling reason to switch from Amazon, especially if A) the competing product costs more and B) since the Kindle app runs on iOS and OS X. As well as in the Safari browser. And on Android, ChromeOS, the Chrome/Firefox/IE etc. browsers. And on Windows. Even on Linux you can access it via the Firefox or Chrome browser and C) Apple's product offers no advantage in technology, price, user experience etc. If Apple wants to compete here, then they are going to have to offer something better, cheaper or at least different (like Android did with phones and to a lesser extent tablets). And that includes giving people who are outside the Apple ecosystem a practical way of accessing content the way that Amazon did. And the way that Google did, of course, which assumes that anyone actually purchases books via Google Play, which is doubtful. But I should point out that the books that Google does offer via Google Play costs the same as they do on Amazon. I do not know if this fact was cited during the case, but if Amazon needed to, they certainly would have. People who only want to pay $10 for a book don't have to go to Amazon. They can go to Google Play. But they don't, mainly because Amazon's product for consuming e-book content runs circles around Google's, and paying the same for an objectively inferior product is not something that very many people are going to do when offered a choice.
  • Reply 43 of 71
    croprcropr Posts: 1,090member
    icoco3 said:
    cropr said:
    I don't know for physical goods, but Amazon is not selling an e-book below cost, The production cost for an e-book is a few cents per item.   All other costs are a percentage of the selling price.  So any e-book sold  for $1 or more has a healthy margin. 
    How much did Amazon pay the publisher/author for the rights to sell that ebook?
    I have published an e-book, and I got 15% of the selling piece.  So independent of the selling price, an e-book is always sold with a healthy margin
    gatorguysteveh
  • Reply 44 of 71
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    cropr said:
    icoco3 said:
    How much did Amazon pay the publisher/author for the rights to sell that ebook?
    I have published an e-book, and I got 15% of the selling piece.  So independent of the selling price, an e-book is always sold with a healthy margin

    And how much did you sell the book for?
  • Reply 45 of 71
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member
    sog35 said:


    Bottom line is Amazon had $100 billion in sales and made ZERO profit last year.  With their massive economies of scale and power over supplies you tell me how the hell competitors can compete with them?  How the hell can you compete with a company that could care less if they make a single cent on $100 billion in sales?  The answer is you can't.  That is the very definition of anti-competitive practices.


    $596 million net income in 2015 ain't much, but it damn sure ain't "ZERO":
    http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=97664&p=irol-SECText&TEXT=aHR0cDovL2FwaS50ZW5rd2l6YXJkLmNvbS9maWxpbmcueG1sP2lwYWdlPTEwNjk2NzQzJkRTRVE9MCZTRVE9MCZTUURFU0M9U0VDVElPTl9FTlRJUkUmc3Vic2lkPTU3#s44B4443D0EAA564E146CABB256B0E7A8



    edited March 2016 singularity
  • Reply 46 of 71
    I'll just be sitting here waiting to see how much Amazon will be fined for their ebooks monopoly...
  • Reply 47 of 71
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    sog35 said:

    Probably= I don't know so I will make it up.
    So you are saying Amazon is selling below cost on every ebook? Id make a bet with you they are not but there's no pint in that.
    Amazon had $100 billion in total sales last year and didn't make a cent of profit. 
    Isn't obvious they are sellling stuff below cost?
    sog35, this guy singularity does not understand the first thing about business. If he is not aware of Amazon's business model despite this being all over the news, despite huge federal court cases demonstrating Amazon's predatory pricing leading to a monopoly of 90% of the eBook market before Apple arrived, which then only went down to Amazon controlling 60% of the market after Apple got involved, and ALL of the major publishing agencies desperately conspired amongst themselves to raise eBook prices and paid out a large lawsuit, this guy is not going to get it. Usually what he says is pretty singular, thus his name I suppose.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 48 of 71
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,474member
    cropr said:
    icoco3 said:
    How much did Amazon pay the publisher/author for the rights to sell that ebook?
    I have published an e-book, and I got 15% of the selling piece.  So independent of the selling price, an e-book is always sold with a healthy margin
    I assume you published through a publisher.  Self published gets up to 70% through Kindle Direct.

    My comment to the previous poster referred to their comment that eBooks were basically "free".  The right to sell a copy does cost money even though the publishing costs for that copy are basically zero (not considering infrastructure to sell it in the first place).
  • Reply 49 of 71
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    latifbp said:
    sog35 said:

    Amazon had $100 billion in total sales last year and didn't make a cent of profit. 
    Isn't obvious they are sellling stuff below cost?
    sog35, this guy singularity does not understand the first thing about business. If he is not aware of Amazon's business model despite this being all over the news, despite huge federal court cases demonstrating Amazon's predatory pricing leading to a monopoly of 90% of the eBook market before Apple arrived, which then only went down to Amazon controlling 60% of the market after Apple got involved, and ALL of the major publishing agencies desperately conspired amongst themselves to raise eBook prices and paid out a large lawsuit, this guy is not going to get it. Usually what he says is pretty singular, thus his name I suppose.
    Actually I do but whatever :-p
  • Reply 50 of 71
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    latifbp said:
    sog35, this guy singularity does not understand the first thing about business. If he is not aware of Amazon's business model despite this being all over the news, despite huge federal court cases demonstrating Amazon's predatory pricing leading to a monopoly of 90% of the eBook market before Apple arrived, which then only went down to Amazon controlling 60% of the market after Apple got involved, and ALL of the major publishing agencies desperately conspired amongst themselves to raise eBook prices and paid out a large lawsuit, this guy is not going to get it. Usually what he says is pretty singular, thus his name I suppose.
    Actually I do but whatever :-p
    Your posts here do not reflect this supposed knowledge at all whatsoever. There are many very intelligent posts on this thread alone comparing this case to Microsofts monopoly case in the 1990's, and a plethora of news articles about Anazon losing money every year, Donald Trump accusing Jeff Bezos of tax evasion because of Amazon's predilection to operate at a loss almost every year, yet you make the statement you made. Not really reflective of business knowledge man.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 51 of 71
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    latifbp said:
    Actually I do but whatever :-p
    Your posts here do not reflect this supposed knowledge at all whatsoever. There are many very intelligent posts on this thread alone comparing this case to Microsofts monopoly case in the 1990's, and a plethora of news articles about Anazon losing money every year, Donald Trump accusing Jeff Bezos of tax evasion because of Amazon's predilection to operate at a loss almost every year, yet you make the statement you made. Not really reflective of business knowledge man.
    I don't pretend to be a guru about business thus no super large posts about it.

  • Reply 52 of 71
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    cropr said:

    I don't know for physical goods, but Amazon is not selling an e-book below cost, The production cost for an e-book is a few cents per item.   All other costs are a percentage of the selling price.  So any e-book sold  for $1 or more has a healthy margin. 
    This is only true if an ebook has essentially no other costs than production. Which is not the case.

    In fact, physical production is a minority fraction of the full cost of producing dead-tree books, and has been for a long time. This is not to say that it's insignificant, just that it's not most of the cost that you pay for the paper version.

    That said, pricing ebooks higher than dead-tree books is just stupid on stilts. Which seems to describe at least part of the traditional publishing industry. And we're not even going to look in the general direction of textbook publishing.
  • Reply 53 of 71
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member

    icoco3 said:

    How much did Amazon pay the publisher/author for the rights to sell that ebook?
    It varies, from less than a dollar/copy on up.
  • Reply 54 of 71
    latifbplatifbp Posts: 544member
    latifbp said:
    Your posts here do not reflect this supposed knowledge at all whatsoever. There are many very intelligent posts on this thread alone comparing this case to Microsofts monopoly case in the 1990's, and a plethora of news articles about Anazon losing money every year, Donald Trump accusing Jeff Bezos of tax evasion because of Amazon's predilection to operate at a loss almost every year, yet you make the statement you made. Not really reflective of business knowledge man.
    I don't pretend to be a guru about business thus no super large posts about it.

    It's nothing more than a simple Google search to find this info
  • Reply 55 of 71
    daven said:
    Honestly I still don't get it. It is ok for Amazon to use their dominant position to drive others out of business but a small reseller can't set up a framework where the price they pay is no higher than the price offered to other resellers?
    Other way around. Apple was setting the minimum price with iBooks, and no one else, including Amazon, could sell for less than that price. If the price had been fair, it wouldn't have been an issue, but the bloom fell off the rose as soon as Apple started pricing ebooks well above what they had been selling for previously. Basically, Apple and the four largest publishers colluded to control ebook prices instead of allowing the market to do so on it's own, and I'm sorry to everyone who is upset by this decision, but that is illegal. What Amazon is doing by selling ebooks at a discounted rate is no different than when Apple shook up the music world by selling individual songs for $.99 despite cries from artists and the industry that such low prices were going to kill the music business and cheat artists out of their fair share. 
    singularitymaclvr03
  • Reply 56 of 71
    justbobfjustbobf Posts: 261member
    sog35 said:
    The amount of jobs and small companies Amazon has ruined 

    How is selling goods below cost NOT anti-competitive
    I basically agree with you, but there are a few minor points. 

    Amazon was not selling books below their cost, they were forcing publishers to sell books for less money. 

    Amazon had a lousy deal with authors. They kept 70% and gave authors 30% (something like that). Apple turned this on its head and kept 30% and gave authors 70% (something like that). 

    Where Apple went wrong was requiring publishers and authors to agree not to sell books elsewhere for less. That "favored nation" clause was anti-competitive, the court found. 
  • Reply 57 of 71
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    sog35 said:
    The amount of jobs and small companies Amazon has ruined is mind blowing.

    Makes me sick that a company like Amazon can undercut the competition by selling goods below cost.
    Amazon stays afloat because they pay most of their executives with stock options instead of cash.  And Wall Street keeps inflating Amazon stock, so they are part of the scam also.

    How is selling goods below cost NOT anti-competitive?  How can other companies compete if Amazon is willing to take losses on every book they sell?
    Because they're not taking a loss on every book they sell. It was always only a select few.
    singularity
  • Reply 58 of 71
    tenlytenly Posts: 710member
    bulldogs said:

    sog35 said:

    Look at last years chart for Google vs Apple.  Who cares what the YTD chart shows.  That's only 2 months of data.

    Google was up 45% in 2015
    Apple was down 4% in 2015

    There is no relationship between the companies.
    Saying "Google and Microsoft are going down hard" is funny. If they do, who is going to take their place?
    For example, if Google goes away, who is #1 in search? What replaces YouTube? Gmail? 
    Microsoft goes down hard ... what are all those SQL Server enterprise databases going to migrate to? The Azure cloud users (which includes Apple)? Oh yeah: what is going to take over 75%-80% of the PC operating system share? Funny ... the most likely candidate to is ChromeOS (or more accurately the ChromeOS/Android hybrid). Which is made by Google. tenly said: No one was selling web browsers. Everyone was giving them away for free. Just as everyone is STILL giving them away for free. (For goodness sakes ...)
    "the government enacted restrictions against Microsoft to prevent the monopoly"
    all the government did was force Microsoft to unbundle IE from Windows. Back then, a person who wanted to uninstall IE couldn't because Windows would not run properly without it. And by the way ... IE is still free. As it always was. As every other browser always been.

    "so I don't get why in the Amazon e-books case they have done the opposite and they are PROTECTING Amazon's monopoly."

    The same reason why they didn't stop Wal-Mart from doing the same. Wal-Mart is notorious for underselling in order to drive local competition out of business ... and then raising prices again when they are the only player in the area.

    Price isn't the sole reason why Amazon has a "monopoly." 
    1. Amazon got into e-books first. Lots of people who have been with them from the beginning stay there because of brand loyalty. It will remain that way until a company comes up with a better product - or a cheaper product - that gives them a reason to switch. Apple failed to come up with a better product, and we know that they aren't going to come up with a cheaper one, so they tried to rig the game by colluding with publishers to raise prices. Which is illegal. Remember: the primary role of antitrust actions isn't to benefit companies (or in this case, any single company like Apple). Instead, it is to benefit the consumer. Any action that drives up prices - at a negative impact to the consumer - will draw government action. Driving prices down, the government rightly assumes that the consumer benefits and lets it alone. You would have to make the case that artists, publishing companies etc. are being harmed by Amazon's underselling, or that Amazon's actions result in less books being in the market. While some companies and artists have complained, on balance it is the opposite: Amazon's e-book operation has greatly reduced the barrier of entry. It is A LOT easier to become a published author now than before, and some companies devoted entirely to e-books exist. Other authors sold a ton of e-books through Amazon and were able to sign deals with traditional publishing houses as a result. Even with traditional printed books, Amazon lists self-published books that would never be sold by a brick-and-mortar bookstore. So basically, what you want is for the government to allow Apple to collude with publishers to create a favorable market for themselves. That presumes that it is the job of the government to protect Apple's desire to be a bookseller, and moreover to make as large a profit selling books as Apple wants. It isn't. 

    2. Funny ... the people who are aghast at the monopolies that Apple's competitors have are/were fine with Apple having the monopoly. Apple fans WANT Apple to be the only real player selling smartphones and tablets, for instance. But here is the deal: Apple once had their own monopoly. It was called the iPod and iTunes. As with Amazon, they created their product first, getting all the early adopters and earning brand loyalty, both with record companies, artists and consumers. As with Amazon's product, no one else was able to come up with a better music player to earn switchers. Unlike with Android and computers, Apple chose to maintain an inexpensive product, the iPod Shuffle, to prevent competitors from gaining a foothold with cheaper devices. Also, with $.99 per song, $7.99 per album - and frequent sales - no one, not even Wal-Mart (who attempted to offer a competing platform that plugged into Windows Media Player and Zune) was able to really compete selling music with iTunes either (until the smartphone basically ended the era and created competition in this space again, including later developments like the streaming service and YouTube/Vevo). Now I do not recall anyone successfully challenging Apple over the $35 iPod Shuffle or the $.99/$7.99 thing. And ironically, the company that did the best job of competing with iTunes and Apple in that era for digital music downloads? Why, Amazon of course. And even Amazon had the good sense to automatically import their downloaded songs into iTunes rather than to try to lock people into their own music player. 

    There is no compelling reason to switch from Amazon, especially if A) the competing product costs more and B) since the Kindle app runs on iOS and OS X. As well as in the Safari browser. And on Android, ChromeOS, the Chrome/Firefox/IE etc. browsers. And on Windows. Even on Linux you can access it via the Firefox or Chrome browser and C) Apple's product offers no advantage in technology, price, user experience etc. If Apple wants to compete here, then they are going to have to offer something better, cheaper or at least different (like Android did with phones and to a lesser extent tablets). And that includes giving people who are outside the Apple ecosystem a practical way of accessing content the way that Amazon did. And the way that Google did, of course, which assumes that anyone actually purchases books via Google Play, which is doubtful. But I should point out that the books that Google does offer via Google Play costs the same as they do on Amazon. I do not know if this fact was cited during the case, but if Amazon needed to, they certainly would have. People who only want to pay $10 for a book don't have to go to Amazon. They can go to Google Play. But they don't, mainly because Amazon's product for consuming e-book content runs circles around Google's, and paying the same for an objectively inferior product is not something that very many people are going to do when offered a choice.
    Wrong!

    I don't know if any of what you posted is true.  I do know that some of it is false - and since you presented it as fact - it makes me question everything else you said (or it would have if I had bothered to read it.)

    Netscape Navigator was definitely not free for everybody when it first came out.  Hope over to the Wikipedia page if you don't believe me - and next time - perhaps you should do that BEFORE posting a "correction" that is NOT correct.

    I hate to reward your laziness and ignorance - but for everyone else's sake, here's a small excerpt from the wiki:

    "The first few releases of the product were made available in “commercial” and “evaluation” versions; for example, version “1.0” and version “1.0N”. The “N” evaluation versions were completely identical to the commercial versions; the letter was there to remind people to pay for the browser once they felt they had tried it long enough and were satisfied with it."
  • Reply 59 of 71
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    sog35 said:
    Because they're not taking a loss on every book they sell. It was always only a select few.

    "At the time, Amazon was selling e-books at a loss, buying a book for, say, $14.99 but then charging Kindle users just $9.99."

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-07/how-apple-and-big-publishers-pushed-e-books-toward-failure

    How the crap can you compete with that. Selling items at massive loss. And doing so for a decade. With the Amazon the only ones getting rich is Wall Street and Amazon shareholders. Everyone else suffers. Small business suffer, jobs suffer, artist suffer, even suppliers who still sell to Amazon suffer because Amazon has a virtual monopoly.

    And now that Amazon has a monopoly on E-book sales with 80% of the market they are not jacking up the price. Anyone with half a brain could see this coming.

    "Today, three of the top five best-selling books on the New York Times list for fiction cost at least $12. It’s not unusual to be able to buy a paperback book for less than the cost of the digital version."

    Amazon sucks for middle class America.  But they get a pass because they are making Wall Street rich and pay a king's ransom to politicians.

    sog35 said:
    Because they're not taking a loss on every book they sell. It was always only a select few.
    Nice try.  But look at Amazon the last 10 years. They have almost a half TRILLION in sales yet almost no profit.

    Again tell me how other business can compete with that?  How can other business compete with a company that has economies of scale advantages and is happy with not making a cent of profit for a decade?

    The only reason Amazon stays afloat is because their executives/owners are paid with stock options.  And Wall Street continues to be part of the scam and jacks up Amazon's stock price.

    IMO, Amazon is everything that is wrong with Wall Street and American business.  
    They sell more than just books. Do they ever break down that business in their financial reports?

    Looks like the collusion back fired.
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/e-book-sales-weaken-amid-higher-prices-1441307826


  • Reply 60 of 71
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 687member
    sog35 said:
    Stock is down $5 billion on a $500 million suit. How does that make any sense.

    After taxes this will only cost Apple $300 million, yet the stock is down $5 billion.

    back on topic: Apple needs to seriously spend more on lobbyist and out spend EVERYONE in political contributions. This is not about BRIBING. Apple does not need bribes to be successful. This is about being treated FAIRLY.  Its painfully obviously that Apple has not been treated fairly by the FBI, DOJ, and other government.  If it means spending $1 billion a year on lobbying they should do it.  Its just the price that needs to be paid to get fair treatment by those in power.
    I disagree on one point: it IS bribery. Conflict of interest is rampant in the US. Only those with the cash can protect themselves against the government is your stated position. I agree. I believe this style of government is no longer functioning as a government - to serve the people - but has become a business - to serve financial interests.

    Apple isn't treated fairly by the govt. I hope they continue to be treated so until enough people realise the bribery system in America is not in the nation's best interests. 'What's good for business is good for America' - this is called propaganda in other countries.
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