As the e-book price fixing suit rolls on, the US Department of Justice called a Google director in order to testify against Apple in its antitrust case. However, the DOJ’s move proved to be unhelpful as the executive answered in favor of Apple.
Hoping that they would find a leak, the Justice Department tried to connect Google’s director of strategic partnerships Thomas Turvey, who previously states in written testimony that publishers has told him Apple was the reason they were switching to the agency model pricing.
The lawsuit is related to the Apple’s accusation of conspiring to fix e-book prices with the help of five major book publishers. Apparently, the five companies with the help of Apple used the agency model strategy, which allows content owners to set prices under a most favored nations clause. The clause prevents them from selling content to other retailers for a lower price.
In this respect, other book resellers, such as the market leader Amazon, were left apart, and they were not able to compete. In order to bring evidence in the e-book price fixing case, the DOJ brought Turvey in for a testimony. As it was stated, the executive mentioned having evidence, suggesting Apple forced the publishing houses to move to the agency model.
During his written testimony, Turvey claimed representatives of some of the publishers involved told him directly in 2012 that they were changing to the agency model because Apple demanded such compliance. On the other hand, in court, Turvey changed its testimony and Google’s executive was unsure who exactly wrote the previous written testimony.
As the lawsuit continued and lawyers started to ask questions, Turvey’s testimony became unreliable, as the executive was not able to remember names of the publishing representatives mentioned in the written document. It is worth mentioning the fact that the executive confessed that the agency model affected Google’s business, but he does not remember details of reported meeting regarding the topic.
Within the written testimony, Turvey claimed that publisher representatives told him directly about the issue, but at the end of the interview, he end up saying that they “likely” told someone on his team about Apple’s aggressive strategy.
Google’s testimony is crucial to the DOJ because publishers did not offer too many details within the trial. For instance, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy testified that her company changed to the agency model because it wanted to, not because Apple forced it to do so. The US Department of Justice’s antitrust suit continues on Friday, again with more testimony from Turvey, and it is scheduled to run for another two weeks.