Apple denies ebook price fixing in 'bizarre' antitrust case

IBooks: Apple accused in the US of colluding to fix ebook prices
IBooks: Apple accused in the US of colluding to fix ebook prices

Apple appeared in court yesterday at the start of a three-week trial in which it stands accused of colluding with major book publishers to fix ebook prices, following its entry to the market in 2010.

The antitrust case has been brought by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), which filed its case against Apple and book publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Simon & Schuster and Penguin in April 2012.

Apple is the sole defendant to go to trial after all five publishers reached out-of-court settlements with the DoJ, in which they agreed to eliminate prohibitions on wholesale discounts and to pay a collective $164m (£107m) to benefit customers.

According to the government's opening statement, delivered by DoJ co-counsel Lawrence Butterman, Apple participated in and facilitated a plot to fix ebook prices and eliminate market competition.

The evidence against Apple consists of a string of emails and phone calls between Apple senior vice-president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, and representatives of the five publishers, excerpts of which have been published in a series of slides on the DoJ website.

Apple's lead attorney, Orin Snyder, denied any wrongdoing on Apple's part, branding the government's case "bizarre", adding that every indicator of market health had improved following Apple's entry in 2010 with the launch of the iPad and the iBookstore.

He went on to accuse the DoJ of "trying to reverse engineer a conspiracy from market effect".

Cue's testimony, which is scheduled to be heard on 13 June, will be the critical moment in the non-jury trial, which will also hear testimony from senior Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook.

The US government is not seeking damages in the case. However, if it is found guilty, Apple could face damages in separate trials by state attorneys and class action suits from consumers.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message