It will be interesting to see how things have “shifted” in the Apple ebook case

appleby kapchurus

‘The issues have shifted’ says the judge in the Apple e-book trial
[Via Brainstorm Tech: Technology blogs, news and analysis from Fortune Magazine » Apple 2.0]

She waited until the penultimate day of a three-week trial to share her feelings.

FORTUNE — U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who played her cards close to the chest throughout the proceedings of the Department of Justice’s antitrust case against Apple (AAPL), opened up a bit on Wednesday.

It started with the declaration of her feelings for her iPad, and ended with something that could be more material to the outcome of the case.


Before the litigation started. she was asked by both sides to provide a public opinion on where she thought things stood after seeing the pre-trial evidence.

She said the evidence favored the DOJ. As Philip states, she felt  “the government would be able to show by direct evidence that Apple “knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books.”

Now after both sides have rested, she stated:

“I look forward to your summations,” she continued. “It seems to me the issues have somewhat shifted during the course of the trial. Things change. People have to stay nimble. I’m looking forward to understanding where we are now.”

Makes one wonder what issues shifted in which way. It is interesting that earlier this week Apple called an executive from Barnes and Noble, another distributor just like Apple, who testified that they had been pushing the publishers to move to an agency model – just like Apple did, and asked for most-favored nation status – just like Apple did. 

In fact, B&N did this BEFORE Apple discussed things with the publishers, all without any discussion with Apple.

Seems to me that Apple has done nothing wrong. There may have been a horizontal conspiracy by the publishers to form some sort of cartel. That is illegal

But Apple is part of a vertical distribution industry, just as Barnes & Noble is. Anti-trust against vertical parts of the supply chain have not been seen very often and a conspiracy like this has not been adjudged by the Federal courts.

Both Apple and Barnes & Noble wanted all distributors to be treated the same.

If Apple did anything wrong, than so did Barnes & Noble.

We do know that the company that held over 90% of the ebook market was dumping those books at below cost. I will never figure out how that is not an abuse of its monopoly position,

Sure, it might be beneficial in the short term, until all competitors like Apple and B&N are gone. Amazon has to make a profit sometime. Raising prices is so much easier when you have no competition.