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back to article Apple: If you find us guilty in ebook price-fix trial, EVERYONE suffers

Apple has claimed that ruling against it in its ebook price-fixing trial will have a "chilling effect" on how businesses enter new markets. The fruity firm's legal beagle, Orin Snyder, said in closing arguments of the proceedings in New York that finding Apple guilty would "send shudders through the business community", …

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Anonymous Coward

send shudders through the business community

I most certainly would, by banning Apple from selling books!

True, I don't think this would be possible, but it would send a clear message that you can't try to strong arm or monopolise.

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Thumb Up

Re: send shudders through the business community

Yeah...I'm thinkin' maybe the business community could use a shudder or two

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g e
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Megaphone

Find them guilty

Of excessive fucking hubris.

Fine - their entire shabby, arrogant existence.

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Re: Find them guilty

finding Apple guilty would "send shudders through the business community", according to court reporters.

"We submit a ruling against Apple on this record sets a dangerous precedent,"

Rich companies/people can't always do anything they want?

"Apple attempted to arrange the best deals possible with publishers"

Literally, make it so no one else can negotiate the best deal possible, as Apple already have an exclusive on that.

"This is an old-fashioned, straightforward price-fixing agreement."

I don't think Apple really disagree with that statement, they just don't see it as a problem, but as a good thing.

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Pint

I think the Apple team may be taking advice from Steve Bong,

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So

Where its the government taking them to court, how many times can Apple appeal the decision?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So

Twice - it's a federal case, so they can appeal to the relevant federal appeals court, and if that fails they can appeal to SCOTUS.

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Re: So

I'd actually say once. They could try to get a second appeal, but SCOTUS would never take this case. They typically only take cases where there's an issue of civil right on constitutionality. Neither is the case here.

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Re: So

They could also theoretically have the case heard before the entire Court of Appeal rather than just the usual three-judge panel. As for SCOTUS, they MIGHT take up the issue if it raises a fundamental question on what constitutes a fair interstate trade agreement (something directly in the federal government's jurisdiction).

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LDS
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Apple didn't try to get the best price (aka the lower one), and Apple is ot "any business".

It wanted prices to raise so its cut on sales would have been higher - while increasing prices for competitors too that had not the agency model so they couldn't compete any longer.

And it could attempt it because it was Apple, it if was another unknown business trying to enter that market it would have never had that power. Why Apple didn't ask to get books at Amazon costs? Simple: because Apple likes to force its high fees on whatever it allows on its devices. It's a mafia-like approach.

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Anonymous Coward

Fine them the amount consumers had had to pay in excess of the price before they committed an offence!

Ban them for selling books as punishment for their underhanded dealings.

Jail those responsible.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple: If you find us guilty in ebook price-fix trial, EVERYONE suffers

Apple, your not that influencial! Your just a soft rich toff kid with poor social skills and inhenrent evil.

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Anonymous Coward

It seems Apple is as fricking loopy as those freeman-on-the-land tossers.

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Shudders...

Are generally associated with large surplus mass being shed. Well done then !

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Headmaster

"Settled out of court" - not quite

The publishers have not settled out of court - they have not paid to have their case dismissed. They have stipulated a final judgement that admits guilt and sets major restrictions on their future business model. While they haven't gone through a trial, this is not the same as a criminal prosecution dropping the case - it's the civil equivalent of pleading guilty.

Check the proposed judgement here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/25/2013-04234/united-states-v-apple-inc-hachette-book-group-inc-harpercollins-publishers-llc-verlagsgruppe-georg

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You cannot punish us, or everybody will suffer was a message the bankers used successfully.

Did not do much for their popularity, did it?

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Facepalm

You can't find us guilty because...

wooooooooo! booga boooga!

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We pretty much know what Apple wants and how they work .............

.. so can you be guilty for the actions of others doing what they think you want?

Its a fascinating subject normally confined to history and politics.

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Said it before...

...and I'll say it again. They could have got away with it if they hadn't added the Most Favoured Nation clause..

...oh, and if it wasn't for those pesky kids

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Re: Said it before...

Agreed. I'm not sure it is the best model for the consumer - "let the producers set the price" always ends up with more expensive goods* - but, without the MFN clause and a bit of humility it could have allowed the market to settle somewhere between the two. The producers would have had to adjust their prices to what people are willing to pay, and Amazon might have realised that they could get away with making more money by charging *just* less than the Apple/publisher model. Win/win, I'd say.

I'm very concerned about the influence of Amazon on the book market, and would have supported both Apple and the publishers if they had done this properly. As it is, I despise them all.

* However, "let the retailer set the price" also tends towards screwing the consumer too, just in a different way.

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Childcatcher

Apple's Right

A ruling against them would have a very chilling effect on how companies enter new markets.

If they lose this case, companies will have to spend hours of executive time coming up with new ways to better hide their tracks when they want to disrupt a new market by illegally price-fixing to cause the incumbents to have to increase their prices.

This extra time will cause executives to demand better conditions than their already paltry salary and benefits packages, which will eat into shareholders' returns. Sure they can probably offset a bit of the costs by firing some of the plebes, but do that too often and you risk shrinking the market for your increasingly expensive products a little too much.

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Best possible price model

Premium price, average products. Unless you value aesthetics that is. Urg I just hate Apple, arrogant price fixing cnuts.

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Apple sounds like it's issuing an ultimatum

I can see this ending badly for them. Nobody likes being held to ransom like that.

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Tax

Fine them high enough so they have to repatriate their profits, then you can get the tax that they are avoiding too.

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"Apple has maintained that it just did what any business would do when getting into a market: negotiate with suppliers for the best possible prices."

And then negotiated with suppliers to stop competitors from undercutting them.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple haters out in force today

Type your comment here -- advanced HTML and hotlinks allowed

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Re: Apple haters out in force today

You have entirely missed the boat. This isn't at all about Apple Haters; it's about hating Apple and their price fixing crooked business dealing that cost consumers millions of dollars extra (for nothing gained).

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Re: Apple haters out in force today

Correct, and it's because Apple does shenanigans like this that there's such a hatred of Apple.

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Black Helicopters

All Apple did was "negotiate with suppliers for the best possible prices" - good business sense. But when your negotiations include exclusivity of supply agreements you are preventing competition.

I'm not suggesting Amazon's attempts to corner the market were any better, but at least they left the market open for competitors to negotiate cheap prices and supplies.

What is really scary about Apple is that by restricting the market and publishers you are controlling what can be read and by whom it can be read. Very soon the world is only reading Apple sanctioned texts.

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FAIL

Amazon cornered the market all right...

Amazon cornered the market by being first to market with a decent product and price and Apple didn't want to deal with that. They wanted a special kick to help them make tonnes of money and hurt Amazon. Apple didn't ever care about the book sellers themselves or the customers.

Remember, the book sellers themselves could have at any time come up with their own readers; their own online market; and their own online selling prices.

They did not.

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Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

Amazon cornered the ebook market by selling books on the best sellers list at a loss, cross subsidising from other parts of the business.

Best sellers wholesale at $11 a title, Amazon sell them for $9.99, Apple wanted to sell them for $12.99 and not be undercut by anyone.

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Apple wanted to sell them for $12.99 and not be undercut by anyone.

Well boo hoo.

I'm sure Sears don't want to be undercut by Target. Should Sears be able to set the price everyone sells for?

Who gives a crap what apple want? They can charge $12.99 if they want, no problem. And everyone else can charge what they want too.

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Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

Don't forget you're talking Ebooks here...No physical object that needs production/shipping/storage, just a file suited for a (locked in/DRM-ed to hell and back or not....) display apparatus of your choice.

I'm a huge fan of the dead-tree format, and prefer my copies of my fav authors to be first-edition hardbacks, and am willing to pay for that. Ebooks? Not so much. The publishers themselves have been pulling the mickey when it comes to "costs" to begin with. Amazon just placed it's pricing point where they thought people would actually buy Ebooks.

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Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

"Best sellers wholesale at $11 a title, Amazon sell them for $9.99, Apple wanted to sell them for $12.99"

And they sell for $30 in Australia. Less than half the cost to fly a dead-tree copy from the other side of the planet, let alone an ebook.

Any wonder greedy Aussie book retailers are folding faster than Superman on laundry day?

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Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

Now, if you're a newcomer to the market, and you have no way to loss-lead, how do you undercut Amazon, who is loss-leading up the wazoo? There's a reason excessive loss-leading is frowned upon by market cops as "dumping". If taken to court, Amazon could be found guilty of dumping so as to force out competition like Apple. Just saying two wrongs aren't making a right here. Amazon is bad enough for dumping, but Apple took the low road in trying to combat the dumping.

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h3
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Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

Supermarkets frequently sell those same books as a loss leader.

Google does the same type of cross subsidising (So does Microsoft / Sony).

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Unhappy

Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

"Best sellers wholesale at $11 a title, Amazon sell them for $9.99, Apple wanted to sell them for $12.99 and not be undercut by anyone."

Check your numbers. Apple wants 30%. So if they were to sell the book for $12.99 they would only be paying about $9.10 to the publisher, not $11. If the publisher wanted $11 then that means the "fixed" retail price that Apple would be charging $15.70.....and no one could sell for less.

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DJO
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Headmaster

Lawyer being misleading - world gasps!

"did not conspire with a single publisher to fix prices"

So if they conspired with multiple publishers that would be a 100% accurate statement.

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Only five years?

Most-favoured nation clauses should just be made illegal. They lead to anticompetitive markets, and this case shows it.

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Re: Only five years?

We'd have to study it in more detail, but the sentiment in general sounds right. Might need to be codified into the law that MFN-type agreements amount to price fixing and cartel behaviour.

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Anonymous Coward

One word - Black mail

Thats what they are doiing to the prosecutors . EVeryones suffering would be less if they didnt ask for a higher price agreement, to cover their 30 percent cut.

Extrpolating the argument, can DOJ aslo prosecute APple for the Drm'ed agreement for seling Itunes. SUrely, thats a conspiracy to charge higher prices to consumers too! Cs they get their cut from the music industry.

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Anonymous Coward

Blackmailers indeed

Glad they have not yet played the "dont you think of the children" card.

Their lawyers would argue that this would hurt all American childrens' studies (due to not having books on I-slabs) and therefore their competitiveness would suffer and therefore create an ingnorant generation and therefore America would lose its domineering leadership and therefore giving more opportunities for terrorists to attack USA and prolong the recession and therfore so on and so forth.

You see, we are not greedy. Doing it for the Children.

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Twisted Economics

Somehow in twisted minds Apple is guilty of price fixing by offering book publishers *more* for their product than they were getting from others? What is this world coming to? Marxism, I say.

In a just world one freely sells to the highest bidder. It works on eBay.

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FAIL

Re: Twisted Economics

> In a just world one freely sells to the highest bidder. It works on eBay.

[emphasis mine]

If you offer the same items in multiple auctions, you sell at the final bid, you don't tell the purchaser "you can't buy because 'sjobs' bought another one of the same in a previous auction for more than your bid and now I can't accept any auction results less than that".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Twisted Economics

"In a just world one freely sells to the highest bidder. It works on eBay."

Ever heard of a "reserve price"?

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Re: Twisted Economics

A reserve price must be set before the auction opens. If you're holding multiple auctions SIMULTANEOUSLY, you can't arbitrarily reset the reserve prices of the other auctions because one auction fetched a high price.

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WTF?

Apple: too big to fine?

Since Jobs was buried - at least according to the newspapers - Cook has proved incapable of lying like Jobs and polishing the 'Apple'.

Apple wants 30% of everything - so go fine them $30-million.

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