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  • DOJ Case Against Apple in E-Book Price Fixing Suit Weakened by Google Exec Testimony


    The U.S. Department of Justice recently called a Google director to testify against Apple in its antitrust case over e-book price fixing but the move ultimately proved to be unhelpful at best as the executive buckled under questioning. The Justice Department looked to Google’s director of strategic partnerships Thomas Turvey, who previously stated in written testimony that publishers had told him Apple was the reason they were switching to agency model pricing according to The Verge.

    The Cupertino California company is being accused of conspiring to fix e-book prices with the help of five major book publishers by using what is known in the business as an agency model, which allows content owners to set pricing under a most favored nations clause. The clause precludes them from selling said content to other retailers for lower prices. This supposed collusion prevented other book resellers to compete, including market leader Amazon according to the DOJ. To show how MFN negatively impacted the e-book landscape, the DOJ turned to Turvey who claimed to have evidence suggesting that Apple forced the publishing houses to move to the agency model.



    Once on the stand, the validity of Turvey’s story was immediately questioned by Apple lawyer Orin Snyder, who slowly ended up chipping away at the Google executive’s filed statement. In his written testimony, Turvey claimed that representatives of some of the publishers involved told him directly in 2010 that they were switching to agency because Apple required such compliance in its iBookstore contracts. It came out in court however, that Turvey had drafted the statement with his lawyers, and the executive was unsure who exactly wrote the crucial allegations.

    As the proceeding continued, Turvey’s testimony became increasingly unreliable as he wasn’t able to remember the names of any publishing representatives alluded to in the document. The executive also acknowledged that the publishers’ switch to the agency model affected Google’s business dealings but failed to remember details of reported meetings regarding the matter.

    According to The Verge, at the end of Turvey’s interview, he had gone from saying publishing executives spoke with him directly, to conceding they “likely” told someone on his team about Apple’s purportedly aggressive tactics.

    The Justice Department’s antitrust will continue with additional testimony from Turvey and is scheduled to run for the next two weeks. We’ll have to see how the case unfolds.

    Source: The Verge
    This article was originally published in forum thread: DOJ Case Against Apple in E-Book Price Fixing Suit Weakened by Google Exec Testimony started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. cgfusion's Avatar
      cgfusion -
      Freakin witch hunt against Apple, what a joke.
    1. Perceptum's Avatar
      Perceptum -
      Quote Originally Posted by cgfusion View Post
      Freakin witch hunt against Apple, what a joke.
      Freakin people who think Apple can do no wrong...
    1. highboi's Avatar
      highboi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Perceptum View Post
      Freakin people who think Apple can do no wrong...
      +1
      replace apple with other companies, chances are, it applies
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cgfusion View Post
      Freakin witch hunt against Apple, what a joke.
      Freaking people who get screwed by Apple still try to protect Apple, textbook Stockholm Syndrome.
      Apple did not screw Amazon because Amazon still sells books, Apple screwed consumers!
      We the consumer had to pay more for eBooks because of Apple, Apple have to lose in this and be punished for it.
    1. SpidermanAPV's Avatar
      SpidermanAPV -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      Freaking people who get screwed by Apple still try to protect Apple, textbook Stockholm Syndrome.
      Apple did not screw Amazon because Amazon still sells books, Apple screwed consumers!
      We the consumer had to pay more for eBooks because of Apple, Apple have to lose in this and be punished for it.
      Oh, I understand now. They followed capitalism. Got it. Didn't realize that was illegal now.
    1. Perceptum's Avatar
      Perceptum -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpidermanAPV View Post
      Oh, I understand now. They followed capitalism. Got it. Didn't realize that was illegal now.
      Capitalism done in certain ways IS illegal. That is why the D. O. J. is after them.
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      Freaking people who get screwed by Apple still try to protect Apple, textbook Stockholm Syndrome.
      Apple did not screw Amazon because Amazon still sells books, Apple screwed consumers!
      We the consumer had to pay more for eBooks because of Apple, Apple have to lose in this and be punished for it.
      Except that we paid less for Ebooks. Wow - did you miss this whole event where all the smaller book resellers in the world closed their doors because they couldn't compete with these low prices? Yeah, the customer won this one buddy. The win came at the expense of the utter annihilation of mom and pop shops (along with a ton of small book apps, devs, and etc).
    1. bmwraw8482's Avatar
      bmwraw8482 -
      Has anyone ever actually complained about ebook prices? The few I've ever looked at seemed reasonably priced... As for mom and pop shops, I doubt they burned the books they had and unfortunately that's the price of progress
    1. REMED1AL's Avatar
      REMED1AL -
      Amazon's business model involved losing money on every e-book they sold in order to deter any competition from gaining ground in the e-book market. In their model competition would have to charge more and look overpriced despite not actually being overpriced or sell at a loss. This is shameless, underhanded and bad for the consumer.

      Apple's business model takes a share of all purchases, regardless of price, on all items. They did not allow the e-book industry into the iOS store with better terms then developers or the music industry which is good for the consumer and good for the content provider as everyone is on equal terms. Then they open their iOS store to the publishers, let them price their own books and state that the publishers cannot allow their books to be sold cheaper than they allow Apple too.

      Which of these two is actually a viable model, the one that loses money or the one that creates a fair starting point. All publishers disliked Amazon's model as it made the digital version so under priced from the e-book retail price that it undermined the price of the hardcover as well.