The U.S. government is suing Apple over its ebook store, accusing the tech giant of colluding with book publishers to make book prices artificially high.
In Tim Cook’s own words, the charges are “bizarre” and Apple is fighting them.
The case centres around the fact that Apple wanted to sell books at a higher price than Amazon. Amazon was reportedly selling books at a loss, whereas Apple wanted to charge more and take its usual 30% cut of revenues, according to emails from Steve Jobs revealed in the case.
In court on Thursday, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, testified and offered this tidbit: Jobs didn’t even want a bookstore at first. Cue had to talk him into it, reports CNet’s Shara Tibken.
Cue had at first approached Jobs about building the store for iPhones and Macs, but Jobs resisted, believing that people wouldn’t want to read books on their PCs and phones.
“What happened was when I got my first chance to touch and play with the iPad … I became convinced this was a huge opportunity for us to build the best e-reader the market has ever seen,” Cue said during questioning by Apple defence attorney Orin Snyder, Tibken reports.
So Cue approached Jobs about the eBook idea again, and in November, 2009, a few months before the iPad’s launch in January, Jobs agreed, according to Tibken. Jobs insisted that the deals with publishers be in place before the launch, so he could demo the device as an eReader on stage.
Fast and furious negotiating between Jobs and the publishers followed. In April 2011, those negotiations became the cornerstone for a lawsuit against Apple brought by the Justice Department. Several book publishers have settled, but Apple chose to fight.
Here are the emails that got Apple in hot water.
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