While Apple decided to hold out for a court battle — that it eventually lost — five of the publishers involved in the iBookStore price fixing antitrust case have already reached settlements with the DOJ. Two of those publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, are already sending out emails to customers to notify them that they’re eligible to receive iTunes credit, or a check for the settlement.
Following up on the Department of Justice’s revised proposed punishment from Apple’s e-book antitrust case, Apple’s lawyers filed a response this morning claiming the DOJ is trying to give Amazon an unfair advantage on e-books.
Defense attorney Orin Synder said that the DOJ’s 12-page proposal is just trying to find a remedy that will give Amazon a competitive advantage again. Synder had the following to say regarding the DOJ’s proposal that Apple allow App Store developers to sell e-books through their apps without Apple taking a cut:
Not too surprisingly, the five major publishers originally named in the U.S. Department of Justice’s e-book case regarding their collusion with Apple on pricing have now themselves filed a complaint regarding the Justice Department’s proposal to eliminate the use of the agency model in any Apple agreements with publishers for a period of five years.
Publishers like the agency model as it allows them to set prices for e-books, instead of the distributor, as Amazon did before Apple’s own iBooks system launched on the iPad.
Not only does the DoJ want Apple to stop selling e-books through the iBookstore entirely, but allow rivals like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to sell e-books in their iOS apps. In a scathing response to the DoJ’s proposal, Apple has called the proposed remedies “draconian” and “punitive.”
The ongoing iBooks antitrust case between Apple and the United States Department of Justice took a very interesting twist this morning when the DoJ and 33 state Attorneys General laid out plans to remedy Apple’s wrongdoings and restore competition to the market.
The DoJ wants Apple to terminate all of its deals with book publishers, and refrain from entering into any new ones for at least five years. It also wants the company to start selling e-books from rivals like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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 U.S. Department of Justice’s case against Apple has gotten underway in New York. The DOJ has accused Apple of colluding with publishers to raise the price on eBooks.
To start the trial off, the DOJ has released an 81-page slide deck containing its opening statements against Apple. The trial is expected to run for about three weeks, and both sides gave their opening arguments today.
The DOJ’s 81-page document includes a number of email between Apple execs, as well as sections of Walter Isaacon”s biography of Steve Jobs.
You can search through the DOJ’s opening arguments after the break:
In a somewhat ironic move, the U.S. government has entered into an ebook deal with Apple that will see a range of government reports, documents, and ebooks published in Apple’s iBookstore. The partnership, which was announced earlier this week, coincides with the Department of Justice’s latest legal filings in its anti-trust suit against Apple.
The deal with the Government Printing Office (GPO) will make a wide swath of documents and ebooks available through the iBookstore. While some government documents are available for free, a number of documents and full-length ebooks are not.
One of the ironic twists about the anti-trust lawsuits against Apple and the major publishing companies is that Apple’s entrance into the ebook market actually broke Amazon’s virtual monopoly on the ebook business. In the process, publishers gained the ability to control ebook pricing, which can be seen as actually encouraging competition in the industry.
While the U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general from many states are pursuing lawsuits around the matter, not every country would see the situation in the same terms as the U.S. government. In France, for example, publishers can legally control pricing and are protected from booksellers undercutting their business as Amazon had been doing with its power over the ebook market. It’s even possible that France’s laws protecting publishers may have served as inspiration for the agency model that Apple used in building the iBookstore.