Within the recent “tentative view” trial, Judge Denise Cote suggested that the US Department of Justice would be able to prove that Apple is likely to be guilty in e-book price fixing along with other major book publishers.
After looking at a part of the evidence, the judge argued that her personal view from the tentative trial reveals the fact that Apple appears to be culpable in the lawsuit regarding the price fixing for some e-book issues. However, since the trial is far from being over, this was only an opinion based on partial evidences.
Citing judge Cote: “ I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books and that the circumstantial evidence in the case, including the terms of the agreements will confirm that”.
Regarding the “tentative view”, which turned out to be negative for Apple, the trial was based mostly on direct correspondence from a six-week period between December 2009 and January 2010.
The evidence presented in the tentative trial was represented by a series of emails, which included a conversation between late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and then CEO of News Corp. James Murdoch. As far as Apple is concerned, the Cupertino Based company answered through Orin Snyder counsel in a prepared stated that they “look forward to presenting out evidence in open court and proving that Apple did not conspire to fix prices”.
During the trial, Apple is supposed to argue that the company did not collude to raise e-book prices under a so-called “agency model” pricing agreement with five major book publishers. According to the deal, publishers were allowed to set prices of owned content under a most favored nation’s agreement. The agreement prevented them from selling the books elsewhere for less.
As far as the “agency model” strategy is concerned, Apple’s model was a change from the wholesale model used by market leader Amazon. Here, publishers were able to sale bulk content while resellers had the opportunity to establish e-book pricing and discounts, as they wanted.
Along with Apple, book publisher Penguin who as one of the five houses that joined Apple’s strategy to raise e-book prices, settled after a class action suit on Wednesday. The publisher paid $75 million in compensation to 33 US State Attorney General and numerous private class plaintiffs.