The Mac Observer’s Jeff Gamet has written a thoughtful analysis of the continuing Department of Justice legal battle against Apple regarding ebook pricing. As you’ll remember, Judge Denise Cote found Apple guilty of conspiring with a group of book publishers to raise book prices. Now Judge Cote has said that she’ll bring the company back to the courthouse in May of 2014 to impose damages.
The US Department of Justice, which brought the case against Apple in the first place, has asked Judge Cote to slap the company with a ten-year plan that would force oversight of Apple’s contract negotiations and business activities. Apple’s already responded to the plan, calling the proposal “draconian”, “punitive”, and “wildly out of proportion”. The company has a good point — the Government is proposing to use injunction as a way to regulate Apple’s businesses, and the ten-year plan goes well past the duration of the legal issues in the case.
Apple has filed an appeal, noting that Judge Cote made errors in the trial by refusing to allow certain evidence and disregarding other evidence in her ruling. If Apple can win the appeal, the remedies imposed by the court would be dropped. Should the company lose the appeal and the Department of Justice has its way with imposing unprecedented government control on Apple’s business dealings, the company stands to lose out on the ebook market.
As Gamet notes in closing, Apple isn’t going down without a fight, and the company has the resources to take the case all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary. In the meantime, Amazon continues to sell books at loss-leader pricing and driving competitors out of the market.