As you probably already know the US Department of Justice sued Apple Inc. earlier this week in an antitrust case relating to the company’s online ebook selling mechanisms. The government case centres around apple’s agency model which prosecutors say is creating an uncompetitive market by keeping book prices artificially high. Several commentators have come to the company’s defense in the days since but Apple finally released a full response to the charges today though it came in just four sentences from the company’s PR wing. The statement read:
“The DoJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2012 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App store we allow publishers to set prices on the iBookstore.”
The response to the suit is as simple elegant and minimalist as the company’s products have been and the statement oozes with cool quiet confidence on the part of the Cupertino firm. Apple is very simply denying that it could possibly have been colluding to set book prices when it has no authority in setting prices at all. The company lets publishers do that and takes a 30% cut of sales. Invoking its App store which runs on the same model was another excellent move. That market has been the birthing place of many startup companies and has allowed a fertile walled breeding ground for innovative designs to emerge. Apple’s maternal protection of its App developers emerged yesterday in a separate patent suit against third party programmers on its App store. The tech giant is going to protect its models of commerce at any cost becausee it is incredibly popular to do so.
This case may not require the sort of fervent defense Apple is capable of however. It loos like the case against the company is going to be lost by the Department of Justice who could not have previously assumed Apple was going to settle with them. The DoJ’s case against publishers is much stronger and may result in a loss for Macmillan or Penguin the two remaining publisher defendants. Another three publishers settled immediately out of court with the DoJ though the details of those settlements was not fully revealed. If the DoJ continues in its suit against Apple expect many more easily digested pieces like this from Apple as it absolutely denies the charges.