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Print 36 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Jun 18 at 10:55 PM

Gadgetmaker faced up to $840M USD in damage claims after being found guilty of ebook price fixing

With a trial set for July over accusations that Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and its late CEO -- Steven P. Jobs -- brokered illegal collusive agreements with publishers to fix eBook (electronic book) prices at lower levels, Apple has backed off at the last minute, agreeing to a settlement with a coalition of state attorney generals and consumers.
 
I. New Settlement -- Contents Unknown
 
The most crucial detail -- what is in this settlement -- is missing, as Apple successfully negotiated a court order to seal the settlement.  Given that Apple faced up to $840M USD in potential damages claims (by prosecutors' estimations), the settlement is probably less than $100M USD.
 
Apple has a month to submit a filing asking for approval of its settlement offer.  That filing may provide some insight into exactly what it's willing to pay back to consumers in damages.

The popular gadget maker's legal woes stem from the 2010 release of the iPad.  To drive the device's sales Apple made a major foray into the eBook market, brokering key contracts with publishers.
 
The case was somewhat unusual because Apple at the time did not have a dominant position in the eBooks market.  However, a lengthy federal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed a long paper trail of corporate communications, including emails from Steve Jobs and his executives.  These emails painted what seemed to be a clear picture that Apple colluded with the publishers to fix prices to try to break the power of Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN).  Price fixing is illegal even for minority players in a given market, according to U.S. antitrust laws.
 
At the time, Amazon's prices for eBooks were around $9.99 USD -- a price that was often below cost.  After Apple's tactics, prices jumped to as high as $15 USD.
 
II. A Brief Recap and the Remaining Unknowns
 
The federal probe's implication that Apple and the publishers price-fixed was met with a federal lawsuit in April 2012.  The publishers who signed questionable contracts with Apple quickly settled, leaving Apple alone to fight the accusations.  The case went to trial and Apple struggled to defend itself during the June 2013 trial.  The trial was held in Manhattan, New York at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
 
In July 2013, after reviewing both sides’ arguments and evidence, Judge Denise Cote ruled in the non-jury trial that Apple was guilty.  She proposed a set of solutions to correct the situation in Aug. 2013.
 
Apple quickly rejected that settlement offer, taking particular issue with the idea of an external monitor to watch its behavior for signs of wrongdoing.  It argued a monitor would be a competitive threat and it should be allowed to self-report on its progress in avoiding anticompetitive/collusive behavior.  Apple was granted a hearing before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to plead its case, but the Circuit Appeals court was unconvinced and order that the lower court's ruling stand.
 
The finding of guilt allowed state attorney generals and consumers to band together under a second suit in the class action lawsuit against Apple seeking monetary damages.  Judge Cote was scheduled to hear both sides and issue a ruling on whether Apple owed the states and consumers damages.
Apple e-book
The ebook ruling has helped to reinforce Amazon's dominant position in the market.

Apple was last heard vowing to file a formal appeal Judge Cote's original finding of guilt (a more aggressive move than its previous tactic of calling for a hearing to try to dismiss the external monitor).  It is probable that Apple may have agreed to forgo its appeal as part of the settlement.  It is unknown how the current settlement impacts Apple's ongoing legal complaints about the external monitor.
 
Ultimately the case appears to result in cheaper rates for consumers, but the dark side is that it has served to reinforce Amazon's dominant position in the market.  Amazon has recently begun to show signs of abusive behavior, delaying shipments of paper books and the release of highly anticipated new titles (both in digital and non-digital form), in an effort to squeeze a bigger cut of digital + non-digital book revenue from publishers.
 
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS) one of Amazon's major rivals was unhappy that DOJ prosecutors had no issue with the market's most dominant player sell eBooks below cost.  It has argued that such a tactic should be illegal.

Source: Bloomberg



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RE: Typical American Govt "Justice"
By Reclaimer77 on 6/18/2014 5:08:16 PM , Rating: -1
No see if I was being childish I would tell you to go fuck your mother you pathetic taint-licking loser. Who, like a retard, for some reason feels compelled to assert his smug superior bullshit when not a single person ever agrees with you, and not a single post of yours ever makes it past -1. To the point that you've made a different account because your original got downvoted into oblivion for being an obvious loser shill hack with no original thought of your own.

When you aren't spewing your Apple-zealot nonsense, you're posting links from OTHER fucktards who are as clearly biased and brainwashed as you. Making you a completely worthless mouthpiece who doesn't even TRY being objective in the slight.

I catch hell here, but I also have friends or at least people who respect me enough to have a conversation. Some people even agree with me from time to time. You have NONE of that and you keep coming here with the same old song and dance. And you accuse me of not being a grown up? Do you know how sad and pathetic that is?

And for what? A social cause? Correcting a great injustice? Saving the whales? No! Just to carry the water for a goddamn corporation that doesn't give two shits about you or what you think!

I was probably the one guy here who respected you as a person, and you've gone and made personal attacks over my opinion on a case that you STILL refuse to see the facts on. And you say I'm childish?

quote:
Whether that was gross enough to be actually illegal I don't know


Case in point. Hey moron, fucking moron, what Apple did WAS illegal. FACT! And you can't even bring yourself to acknowledge that, and instead want to shift the discussion to this Amazon domination boogeyman bullshtit!

quote:
Apple offered a way for the publishers to get back some leverage.


WOW!!! Just...WOW!!! I mean, is this the kind of shit you have to tell yourself so Apple can be the consummate hero in this story?


By retrospooty on 6/18/2014 10:55:55 PM , Rating: 1
holy crap reclaimer is on fire today


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














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