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Why Is Apple Still Wrangling Over E-Books?

30 June 2013

From The Wall Street Journal:

A question hangs over Apple Inc.’s e-books trial: Why is Apple fighting the U.S. Department of Justice when the book publishers the agency also sued chose to settle?

The answer lies in part in what’s at stake. Apple says it is fighting the high-profile case, now in the hands of a federal judge, on the principle it did nothing wrong. But the company is defending a lot more than its tiny digital-books business. A win would help Apple maintain negotiating clout with media companies, which are searching for new ways to make money in markets shifting online. A loss could hamper its ability to compete with rivals like Amazon.com Inc. to land increasingly important media deals on favorable terms.

. . . .

While the government is only suing Apple over e-books, Apple uses a similar approach of trying to land partners by letting them set prices in other areas, like its app store. An ability to negotiate favorable terms is critical to its ability to compete with Amazon.com, which tries to offer lower digital prices.

“Apple is smart enough to realize what is potentially at risk for digital commerce generally,” said David Balto, a former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission. “They want to preserve their market power to disadvantage rivals and dictate the terms of competition.”

. . . .

The government is pushing for an “antitrust compliance program” and an “independent monitoring trustee,” programs that could allow the government to watch Apple routinely.

“Any time there is a monitor, there is someone sticking their nose in your future business and you aren’t comfortable,” said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, co-chair of the antitrust practice at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. He added that Apple could face more class-action lawsuits.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

Amazon, Apple, Big Publishing, Legal Stuff

2 Comments to “Why Is Apple Still Wrangling Over E-Books?”

  1. The government is pushing for an “antitrust compliance program” and an “independent monitoring trustee,” programs that could allow the government to watch Apple routinely.

    “Any time there is a monitor, there is someone sticking their nose in your future business and you aren’t comfortable,” said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, co-chair of the antitrust practice at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP.
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    Apple simply can’t afford to have their day to day business practices monitored. Odds are they have other “deals” that can’t stand the light of day.

  2. @ Felix. Good point abou their ‘other deals’.

    Basically this article says Apple is hoping to win this case so they can continue their anti-trust activites in other arenas.

    But it strikes me that if they do win this it will be because they ‘proved’ they were not involved on that level. This would not protect them from other cases where they could not prove their uninvolvement.

    Also, there’s nothing like p****** off a Government entity to make that particular entity try again.

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