Eddy Cue reveals why Apple is fighting Justice Department on ebooks

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Apple's Mr. Fixit, Eddie Cue. Photo: Apple
Apple's Mr. Fixit, Eddy Cue. Photo: Apple

Apple’s negotiator-in-chief, Eddy Cue is out to clear the air surrounding the price-fixing conspiracy Apple was found guilty of by U.S. federal court in 2013, before the case hits an appeals court later this month.

In a rare interview, Cue sat down with Fortune to talk about the ebook controversythat has embroiled Apple and the six top book publishers ever since the iPad launched with the iBookstore in 2011.

Apple was found guilty of conspiring to raise ebook prices in 2011, after the launch of the iBookstore saw price of ebook new releases spike 17% overnight. Apple has maintained its innocence through the entire ordeal, and though the company has been criticized for its litigious nature, Cue says the company has to “fight for the truth,” no matter what.

Apple’s $450 million e-book settlement scores preliminary approval

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U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has granted Preliminary approval to Apple’s proposed $450 million settlement for claims that it colluded with the five major U.S. publishers to increase e-book prices.

The settlement fee is still pending the appeal of Judge Cote’s 2013 ruling, but if it stands, Apple will pay $400 million to consumers and $50 million to lawyers. However, Judge Cote says she was deeply troubled by a provision that could see Apple pay as little as $70 million.

Apple prepared to pay $450 million for e-book price fixing case

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Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC
Apple is heading toward a $1 trillion market cap. Photo: Pierre Marcel/Flickr CC

One year after being found guilty of e-book price fixing, Apple has reached a conditional settlement with the U.S. State to pay $450 million for its role in the price fixing conspiracy that involved five major publishers.

Apple’s settlement could bring $400 million back to consumers’ wallets, reports Reuters, but the court documents filed on Wednesday reveal that the company isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet, with hopes that its appeal will shrink that fee down to just $70 million.

Escape Amazon’s evil Kindle empire with the cheeky Kobo Aura

Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Kobo's ebook reader trumps even the best Kindle on several fronts. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I just switched from Kindle to Kobo. Why? Amazon. It’s currently extorting publishing house Hachette by delaying orders and refusing to allow pre-orders for certain titles. The exact machinations are secret, but many people agree that Amazon is demanding discounts on ebooks.

I don’t want to see authors forced to get a second job to survive, so I switched. No more Kindle ebooks. I switched to Kobo, which has a great e-ink reader, a deep book catalog, and – most importantly – breakable DRM.

The results are mixed, with ups and downs for both the service and the hardware.

And The Winner Is… Best eBook Reading App

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Next time you are traveling somewhere or commuting your way to work, look around you. It’s evident that the number of book lovers who have taken to reading on a digital format has risen significantly over the years. In 2011 and 2012, Amazon said it sold 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books, excluding free eBooks.

Though it has become apparent in recent years that there is a slight fall in the growth of eBook sales (particularly so in 2013), eBooks are still far too compelling to die out, and today we tend to use more than one medium to consume the same thing. So next time you’re hesitating to pull out your Kindle or iPad mini on the bus or train due to the watchful eyes of a “book snob,” just remember that it’s not possible to please everyone, and that there are still thousands of benefits to the electronic book format.