Apple responds to DoJ e-book lawsuit: We did nothing wrong


Two days after the U.S. Department of Justice filed antitrust lawsuits against Apple and five of the largest publishers in the country for allegedly colluding to fix the price of e-books, the electronics giant has responded to the government’s actions, say it did nothing wrong. Apple’s defense echos that of Macmillan and Penguin, both of which have decided to fight the suit in court. The three remaining publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster — all agreed to settle out of court, almost immediately after the Justice Department filed the suit.

“The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true,” said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, via AllThingsD. “The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from e-books that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.”

There are a number of interesting points in this statement that should be highlighted. First, Apple says that the launch of iBookstore broke Amazon’s “monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.” This is notable because it is precisely the way the publishing industry sees the situation. Prior to the launch of the iBookstore, Amazon (and other booksellers) was able to set the price of e-books at whatever it wanted it to be. Turns out that price was extremely low, so low that nobody else could compete, which effectively made Amazon and its Kindle e-reader the dominant seller of e-books. When iBookstore launched, the publishing industry found a partner to help it switch to an “agency model” of pricing, which allows the publisher — not Amazon, or anyone else — to set the price.

It is also notable because of the word “monopolistic.” Most of the time, monopolies use their dominant power in the market to raise prices for consumers. Amazon did the opposite — it drastically lowered prices as a way to control the market. Technically, that does not make Amazon a monopoly, even if it means others cannot compete, because consumers are not being harmed by low prices.

Second, Apple says that “customers have benefited from e-books that are more interactive and engaging” thanks to the launch of iBookstore. This is key because the DoJ’s argument is that customers were forced to pay millions of dollars more than they should have for e-books as a result of iBookstore and the switch to the agency pricing model. What Apple’s presumably trying to say here is that they did not overpay for e-books because the product they received was of a higher quality, and thus justifies the higher price tag.

So, how will this play out? For starters, Amazon will now be able to offer books from the three publishers that agreed to settle at whatever price it wants again. Also, Barnes & Noble will probably die eventually. The company has already lost a significant portion of its market value in just a few days, as a result of the settlements.

As far as Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin go, there’s a good chance they could win this fight. But because their side has already splintered, the damage (or improvement, depending on how you want to look at it) has already been done.


Apple Watches get steep smartwatch discounts for Memorial Day

If you've been thinking about picking up a new wearable, an Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches you can buy. With Memorial Day sales from Walmart and Amazon springing up all over the place, now is a great time to save.

The 2019 MacBook Pro is an impressive performance update, but not much else

With increased competition from Windows laptops, Apple could do with refreshing its MacBook Pro line. Fortunately, it looks set to do that in 2019. Here's everything we know so far.

One of these monitors will look great next to your new MacBook Pro

Apple doesn't make its beloved Cinema Display monitors anymore, which makes finding the best monitor for the MacBook Pro more difficult. In this guide, we break down some of our favorites and offer something for every size and budget.

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.

Leaked cases show off the new iPhone's squared camera module

The last iPhones just launched, but rumors about the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans to enjoy.

Apple iPhone Lightning Dock gets price knocked down to just $39 on Amazon

Apple acolytes are always eager to buy brand-name products, and the Lightning iPhone Dock is a solid option as a desktop charging station. Secure yours now at Amazon for just $39, down from $50.

T-Mobile One is being rebranded to Magenta, new users get to keep discounts

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.

Apple iPad and iPad Pros get big discounts for Memorial Day weekend

Apple iPads have been getting a lot of great discounts so far this year, and Memorial Day 2019 proves to be no exception. With prices as low as $249 for newer models, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to pick one up.

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear Sport get price cuts in Amazon sale

Smartwatches are more in style than ever, with the world of wearables now inundated with options. Two big brands are now available at deep discounts, with the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Samsung Gear Sport smartwatches on sale on Amazon.

Amazon Memorial Day sale: Apple Watch, Surface Pro, and 4K TV Deals

Amazon is discounting a number of different items. Smartwatches, tablets, 4K TVs, smart home devices, and laptops are all getting discounts to stay competitive with prices from Walmart and Best Buy.

The 20 best iPhone SE cases to keep your phone looking like new

Protect your iPhone properly with one of the best iPhone SE cases or covers. That metal-and-glass body is prone to scuffs and scratches, so it pays to buy a decent case. We've got protective and stylish options for you here.

Should you buy a MacBook Pro or a Razer Blade Stealth? We'll help you decide

Laptop head to heads are a great way to see which one might be the right one for you. Our latest sees the Razer Blade Stealth (2019) vs. MacBook Pro in a fight to see which one deserves to be your next laptop.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.