Understanding the Apple vs. USA ebook price-fixing debacle
Last week Apple lost the antitrust suit filed against it by the US government for ebook price fixing. Apple will appeal, of course, and given Apple's statements-to-date, they'll likely appeal it all the way. It's a complex issue that could decide who controls the ebook market for the foreseeable future: Amazon, or everyone but-Amazon. I kid. A little. Adam C. Engst read everything involved and, combined with his years of ebook publishing and his skill as a writer, put together an excellent explanation for what's really going on here. From TiBITS
Engst also directs readers to Philip Elmer-DeWitt's excellent article on the strengths and weaknesses of the six major arguments of Apple's defense, including this doozy. From Fortune.
If you're at all interested in ebooks and the future of the ebook market, give both a read.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
1) Using one's market power in one market to break into another is illegal, as Apple by their own claim did with Random House and the app store. That judgement is completely irrelevant to Amazon's pricing. 2) Inducing competitors to cooperate is illegal. The pricing behavior of Amazon may be relevant to determining the harm to consumers (and therefore any punishment), but the action itself is still illegal. For it to have bearing on Apple's case, it would have to be shown the Amazon the the power to keep prices artificially low, with the intent of keeping out rivals. 3) Had some prior case established Amazon's pricing as predatory, or Apple been able to (been allowed to?) *prove* it in this case, then the Judge could have taken this into account in deciding the case. As it stands she had no choice but to consider it ultimately irrelevant to the case at hand. Apple will no doubt make this a foundation for their appeal and/or attempt to get the DoJ to go after Amazon in the interim.