Government Makes Devastating Opening Statement in Apple Ebook Price Fixing Case
Posted on June 3, 2013
The Apple ebook price fixing trial got underway and the government's opening statement was just brutal. The Department of Justice uploaded their opening presentation to Scribd here, so everyone can see how Steve Jobs and executives from Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon and Schuster and Penguin plotted how to fix the price of ebooks and take out Amazon.com and Google.
The government did lovely, color slide show for the judge with little photos of each executive so she could see who said what. There is a timeline showing when the alleged conspirators talked on the phone and when they met. The emails are just unbelievable, especially those from Steve Jobs. He lays out his strategy for taking out Amazon.com and Google and convinces the publishers that he can create a stable ebook market at $12.99 and $14.99, instead of the $9.99 that Amazon.com was charging.
We cannot believe Apple took this to trial. Everyone looks terrible after the government's opening statement. The Penguin executive even talks about his worries about the government going after illegal price fixing, noting that they use a go-between to avoid that problem. Penguin's David Shanks said, "We would never meet with Barnes and all our competitors. The Government would be all over that. We would meet separately with Indigo being the facilitator and go between. That is how we worked with Apple and the government is still looking into that."
All consumers are going to see is how all the big corporations were ganging up on them to raise prices. Amazon.com, by comparison, looks great to consumers. The emails also show a lack of technical savvy. One exec tells another to "double delete this email." There is no way to permanently delete an email, unless you destroy the hard drive and even then it may still be in the cloud or on the sender's hard drive. The whole thing is worth reading. We can't wait to see what Apple's defense is.
Photos: U.S. Department of Justice