For the past few weeks, Apple has been battling the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over e-book pricing. The federal antitrust trial revolves around the DOJ’s accusation that Apple conspired with the country’s five biggest publishers to raise prices on e-books and stifle competition with Amazon.
Apple’s face for the trial has been its head of software and services, Eddy Cue. The trial has revealed some tidbits concerning Steve Jobs and the early negotiations surrounding the iBookstore. The trial ends today, but the court’s sentence for Apple has yet to be decided.
The Washington Post has a great rundown of the whole case and what the possible outcomes could be. Some of the behind the scenes stuff is interesting:
Already, the three-week trial has revealed much about the highly secretive company. Testimony by Apple executives and e-mails by Jobs show the business tactics the company pursued to break into a market dominated by Amazon.
At first, Jobs didn’t want to sell digital books through the iTunes bookstore, according to Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services, in his two days of testimony. But convinced that the iPad would create a rival platform to Amazon’s Kindle, Jobs became deeply involved in the creation of iBooks, from the way pages turned to the look of the iBooks retail platform, Cue said.
The DOJ called Cue the “chief ringleader of the conspiracy.” Prosecutors presented evidence of Cue racing to clinch deals with the biggest publishing houses in six weeks between December 2009 and the launch of the iPad on Jan. 27, 2010. According to the evidence, Cue made more than 100 calls to top publishing executives to coordinate a change in how e-books were priced. He flew to New York and sent numerous e-mails to Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan. All five publishers were also charged by the DOJ with price fixing and have settled with the government.
Read the whole post for a breakdown of the trial. If Apple is found guilty (and there’s a good chance it could be), the company will likely have to pay considerable damages. The outcome of this case will also help shape the U.S. publishing industry for the future.
Source: The Washington Post