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back to article US DoJ to appeals court: Haha, no, seriously – Apple totally inflated ebook prices

The US Department of Justice has urged an appeals court to uphold the verdict against Apple that found the fruity firm had violated antitrust laws and conspired with book publishers to fix the price of ebooks. In paperwork submitted to the US court and seen by The Register, the DoJ claimed Apple’s appeal was just trying to pick …

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heh

“If allowed to stand, the ruling will stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers. This court should overturn it.”

Well if anyone should know its apple they perfected this strategy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: heh

Interesting that the argument is not "we did not do it" but "this ruling is bad for business and consumers".

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Facepalm

Re: heh

“If allowed to stand, the ruling will stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers...

...and that's our job", finished Apple.

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Re: heh

“If allowed to stand, the ruling will stifle innovation..."

This has become such a cliche part of every corporate legal discussion. First thing I thought when I saw it in the article was: substantiate those claims. Maybe they did. I did a brief bit of searching for the filing itself but couldn't find it, so I can't say (I didn't look very hard).

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---->

Ha ha!

That's all.

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Irony

That while this case is dragging on, Amazon is starting to exercise their near monopoly power in the book market by offering "take it or leave it" deals to small publishers (per the story last week)

Not that this justifies Apple and the big publishers breaking the law, but hopefully the FTC will take a look at Amazon's actions at some point to insure we have a level playing field.

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Re: Irony

Agree, the timing is impeccable. If Amazon did not own the market in the way they do at least there could be competition in book prices and availability schedules to consumers.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/28/amazon_hachette_profit_margin_dispute/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Irony

As Hachette were one of the co-conspirators in the Apple case, and were more than happy to sign a deal designed to artificially inflate the price of ebooks, please excuse me if I don't shed a tear over them bleating about how unfair Amazon are being to them.

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FAIL

Re: Irony @ac

I'm sure you'll also be taking the first opportunity to moan when your favourite authors start bailing out if Amazon crush the publishers as the are trying to do.

2 wrongs don't make a right but investigating one wrong by apple and ignoring whopping wrongs by Amazon comes into that category too.

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@AC

So it is OK for Amazon to violate the law so long as it only hurts companies that have violated the law in the past? And I guess you won't shed a tear if Microsoft or Google did something illegal that hurt Amazon, because now that Amazon is breaking the law it is OK?

Hopefully you can see where the idea of "they deserve it" will get us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC

As I understand it, Amazon are doing nothing illegal. In fact, they are doing exactly what all retailers do every day of the year, trying to negotiate a better deal from a supplier, Supermarkets do it, your employers do it, people walking into shops do it. Suppliers have the right to refuse to deal with retailers and retailers can refuse to stock goods from suppliers.

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Wait til you see the price of the upcoming IPhone 6.

Now that WILL be fleecing the customers.

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Trollface

Slap 'em with a small fine

US$119.6 million sounds about right to me.

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DJO
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Re: Slap 'em with a small fine

What, per book sold?

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Hang on a minute ......

........ regardless of everything else in the story and the actions taken I have just seen something that beggars belief 'inventing the iBooks store'. How the f*** can you call that an invention? I don't care who's tech you prefer but that statement there is showing utter contempt for everyone on the planet whoever created anything of use.

Lets join in ..... I took a beer into the toilets at the club so it wouldn't get lifted and inadvertently invented a self contained mobile beer recycling method.

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Frankly I have reached MAX_HATE.

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MAX_HATE...

MAX_HEADROOM's evil twin?

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Facepalm

It's interesting how everyone automatically trusts the DOJ, they don't have a stellar rep.

So given a choice between the DOJ and Apple...

Here's an interesting take. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303740704577527211023581798

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Re: It's interesting how everyone automatically trusts the DOJ, they don't have a stellar rep.

Your reference is:

1. An opinion piece

2. From 2012

3. From the Wall Street Journal

4. Behind a Paywall

So forgive me if I lend less credence to it than, say, an article from America's Finest News Source.

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Re: "per se"

Latin for "in itself" But is applied in US law like this:

Antitrust

In the United States, illegal per se often refers to categories of anti-competitive behavior in antitrust law conclusively presumed to be an "unreasonable restraint on trade" and thus anti competitive. The United States Supreme Court has, in the past, determined activities such as price fixing, geographic market division, and group boycott to be illegal per se regardless of the reasonableness of such actions. Traditionally, illegal per se anti-trust acts describe horizontal market arrangements among competitors.

The illegal per se category can trace its origins in the 1898 Supreme Court case Addyston Pipe & Steel Co. v. U.S., 175 U.S. 211 (1898).

A number of cases have subsequently raised doubts about the validity of the illegal per se rule. Under modern Antitrust theories, the traditionally illegal per se categories create more of a presumption of unreasonableness.[1] The court carefully narrowed the per se treatment and began issuing guidelines. Courts and agencies seeking to apply the per se rule must:

show "the practice facially appears to be one that would always or almost always tend to restrict competition and decrease output";

show that the practice is not "one designed to 'increase economic efficiency and render markets more, rather than less, competitive'";

carefully examine market conditions; and

absent good evidence of competitiveness behavior, avoid broadening per se treatment to new or innovative business relationships.

Courtesy of Wikpaedia.

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Headmaster

Re: "per se"

I don't think that what you think it means is what it actually means.

From Latin per se (“by itself”), from per (“by, through”) and se (“itself, himself, herself, themselves”).

Which is indisputably correct in the given text fragments.

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Bad move on apple's part

If they put this behind them, they would be in a better position to compete for ereader consumers against Amazon.

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Apple wanted a slice of the market but didn't want to compete on price and didn't want to be undercut. It's that simple.

I said in a previous post (in another story) that there is nothing inherently beneficial about competition and nothing inherently detrimental about monopolies.

In this instance, the monopoly (Amazon) was providing choice and a good price to the consumer. Their product is good and they have improved it numerous times as well as offering different devices to suit a range of people. You can even use it on an iPad if you desire - you just need to pay Apple for the privilege.

In short, it was a good system that was beneficial to the customer.

Apple could have offered publishers a better deal and either lowered the margin or charged a bit more. Then you could have used Amazon or, if you felt that Apple's offering was superior, pay a premium for that. THAT is choice - different offerings with different features at different price points.

The real question, however, is will this see prices go down?

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Devil

“Apple’s efforts to dismember the conspiracy by attacking a few isolated pieces of evidence... "

IANAL, but shouldn't that be “Apple’s efforts to dismember the conspiracy accusation..."?

On the other hand, I'd bet my left nut on Apple being guilty as sin! ;-)

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Re: “Apple’s efforts to dismember the conspiracy by attacking a few isolated pieces of evidence... "

I'd bet my left nut on Apple being guilty as sin!

Inasmuch as they are mounting an affirmative defense - essentially it amounts to "we did what they said but the law was misapplied" - there's no question of "guilt". It's entirely a matter of how the law is interpreted.

I doubt many people wanted to take you up on that bet, anyway. Personally I have all the testicles I need, even under reasonable scenarios of damage, theft, or loss.

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Corporations are persons

Since corporations are now actually persons, shouldn't they face the similar punishments as people, who are guilty of similar crime? Should a private individual face a jail time or even death penalty, then a same punishment should apply to all the direct and indirect shareholders of a corporation:)

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