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Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Apple, Publishers Fire Back at DOJ


A number of legal experts have said Apple will beat the rap when it comes to the Department of Justice’s price-fixing lawsuit over the agency pricing model of e-books (see the blog post from April 22). Now, the computer giant has weighed in, contending the case against it is without merit.

Apple refutes every charge, according to a report in MacNewsWorld, and argues it negotiated individual deals with publishers, which actually enhanced e-book competition. The company also claimed that Amazon created a monopoly in the e-book market and, by entering the field, Apple helped to spur the growth of e-book titles.

But Yasha Heidari, managing partner of the Heidari Power Law Group, seemed unimpressed.

“It’s just a way of trying to get away from the underlying merit of the case,” Heidari told MacNewsWorld. “The whole thing about antitrust law is, it’s very complex, and once you get very big and powerful, you’ll try to get around it. The question is whether or not Apple is trying to get around it.”

Now, both Penguin and Macmillan have also fired back. the two publishing firms have joined Apple in fighting the lawsuit and recently filed responses that dispute all claims against them, including the one suggesting the publishers met secretly over dinner to devise the agency model.

In the 26-page Macmillan rebuttal, CEO John Sargent claims he “dined once or at most twice with peers from certain other publishing houses, but these dinners were social in nature. No conspiracy was hatched over any such dinner.”

Penguin used its 74-page response to target Amazon, calling the online retail giant “predatory.” The publisher also claims it chose to cooperate with Apple because the iPad allows for enhanced books, which the Kindle does not and suggests the agency pricing strategy allows greater competition in the e-book market.

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