Roger Parloff has an excellent overview of the Apple price-fixing case, including an exclusive interview with Eddy Cue. Here’s the nut of it:
In truth, though, anyone complaining about Amazon has a tough row
to hoe. Since the 1970s a broad consensus has emerged that the
only proper purpose of the antitrust laws is to protect
consumers, and low prices are presumed to be the consumer’s
highest priority. Under that regimen, gigantic discounters like
Amazon seem to be golden.
This case may mark the high-water mark in that worldview, with
regulators rushing to the rescue of a near monopolist against the
alleged depredations of a new entrant.
The key question is who needs antitrust protection here. The DOJ chose to “protect” e-book buying consumers from higher retail prices. Apple’s argument is that it’s the publishers who needed protection from Amazon. Parloff makes clear that the publishers had no negotiating leverage with Amazon until after the iBooks Store was announced.
One thing that seems clear to me: Apple’s executive team believes that they’re in the right here:
Many are surprised Apple didn’t settle long ago. The case seems to
be more about reputation than money. (Under a conditional
settlement worked out in June, if Apple loses the appeal, it will
pay $450 million in damages and attorney fees. If it wins, it pays
“We feel we have to fight for the truth,” says Cue. “Luckily, Tim
feels exactly like I do,” he continues, referring to Apple CEO Tim
Cook, “which is: You have to fight for your principles no matter
what. Because it’s just not right.”
★ Tuesday, 2 December 2014