Apple Loses Latest Bid to Stall eBook Antitrust Trial
In a brief order, the three judge panel ruled that the trial, which is scheduled for 14 July, should proceed on schedule while Apple pursues an appeal to overturn the verdict.
Apparently the Court of Appeals did not find Apple’s claims of irreparable harm any more plausible this time around than when that court denied Apple’s last appeal in February 2014. That appeal attempted to delay the antitrust case at an earlier stage, blocking the court-appointed monitor.
Or perhaps the court doesn’t expect Apple to have a very good chance of winning the appeal that would overturn Judge Denise Cote’s ruling that Apple conspired with five publishers to raise ebook prices and reduce competition in the US ebook market.
That lawsuit was filed in 2012 following a 2 year long investigation by the US Dept of Justice and the attorneys general for 33 states. That investigation led to charges that Apple conspired with 5 major US publishers to raise ebook prices in the US ebook market and prevent ebook retailers from competing on price. The 5 publishers (HarperCollins, S&S, Penguin, Hachette, and Macmillan) all chose to settle before the case went to trial, but Apple decided to defend itself in court. Apple lost the case on 10 July 2013, and they have been vigorously fighting a rear guard action ever since.
Given that Apple settled a similar case in Europe before it could go to trial, I am more than a little puzzled that Apple fought the US case so strongly. And given that Apple is facing damage claims in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars, it makes even less sense for a company to fight over what is effectively less than half of a percent of its cash reserves.
image by AlicePopkorn