Apple Ebook Trial Enters Second Week

Jun 11, 2013

At the outset of the antitrust lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice, things didn't look good for Apple. Even the judge hearing the case in lieu of a jury urged the company to settle, like its co-defendents had all done. But Apple refused, and in the second week of the trial, things are looking up for the company.

District judge Denise Cote raised an important question: Did Apple force any of the publishers to demand Amazon move to the agency-pricing model? If the court finds that the publishing companies simply acted out of their own self-interest, which has been Apple's lawyers' argument, (after all, publishers would certainly prefer to make more money off of their ebooks) then Apple may be found not guilty.

Still, the trial marches on and on Monday a variety of witnesses were being called to testify: Thomas Turvey, Google's director of strategic partnership, and former Macmillan employee; Keith Moerer, who negotiated the price caps for Apple with the five publishers; Brian Murray, CEO of HarperCollins; Markus Dohle, RandomHouse CEO, who refused to make a deal with Apple; David Young, former CEO of Hachette books.


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In April of 2012 a suit was filed in New York by the Department of Justice against Apple and five publishers -- Penguin Group, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan - alleging that the companies colluded to keep ebook prices high. Over the past year the publishers have settled, but Apple refused and is now getting its day in court. The trial started on Monday.
On Monday the DOJ's trial against Apple -- which is charged with colluding to raise ebook prices in an antitrust case -- got underway in New York. Though Apple was originally charged along with publishers, those companies have long since settled the case and are now testifying against Apple.