Morning Coffee – 14 June 2019
Here are a few stories to read this Friday morning.
- The Millions wants you to stop hating on the poor, under-trodden, dejected,beaten-down adjective.
- This interview of retired Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell gives us a look inside Apple during the ebook antitrust lawsuit, aka the Price Fix Six years.
- Kickstarter is still changing book publishing.
Disgusting Dude June 14, 2019 um 11:27 pm
So Apple was pure as the driven snow.
They just didn’t know that the five publishers were forcing all other retailers to adopt the exact same prices Apple dictated at the exact same time the exact same day. And they never told Random House they would block their app from the Apple store unless they joined iBooks.
Poor, poor Apple, misled by the evil colluding publishers.
Nate Hoffelder June 15, 2019 um 7:31 am
I took it to mean the lawyer was blindsided by what Apple was doing with the publishers.
Gordon Horne June 14, 2019 um 11:42 pm
Interesting article about Bruce Sewell. One thing I’ve never understood about that situation is how Apple, the professionals among the six, could have gotten things so ass backwards. Sewell says there were things going on with the publishers he didn’t know about so he miscalculated which side of the line they were on. That provides a general explanation, but what didn’t he know? Why didn’t he know it? Did he not ask? That seems unlikely. Did the publishers provide false information? If that were the case, why wouldn’t Apple sue to recover some of the fine from the others?
Someday, someone is going to write a book about what happened. I hope I’m still around to read it.
Will Entrekin June 15, 2019 um 1:20 pm
I’ve always held that it sounded like the corporate publishers colluded among themselves and then went to Apple with an agreement Apple didn’t realize they had worked on together. Like, the five publishing CEOs all met in that Manhattan restaurant, agreed to a particular set of terms (including things like pricing, model, etc.) and then met with Apple later. I’m really not sure how much Apple knew they were talking among themselves in the first place.
""There were some things going on amongst a group of publishers that I didn’t know about," he continued." Seems to corroborate that.
So far as Random House, RH was the publisher who held out against using the agency model, which is what Apple was after — and which, if you think about it, is the model Apple uses across its distribution platforms. App developers, for example, basically use the agency model, as Apple gets 30% of every app sale — just like with ebooks (and just like with Amazon).
Besides having wanted to keep with the wholesale model (selling ebooks like their print counterparts, rather than receiving commission), didn’t RH also leak the iPad/iBookstore news a day or two ahead of time? I can’t imagine Apple was happy with them.
I’m not saying Apple was pure in the matter. I think they certainly provided the means for the publishers to collude in the first place (if they hadn’t been about to provide a platform alternative to Amazon, the publishers would have had no reason to collude among themselves on the terms for provision of content to that platform), but I think it’s long been lame that Apple is the one who fought the case and lost, and meanwhile the publishers "settled" while admitting no guilt and basically got some fines and that was it.
Their reputations should have been shot.
Disgusting Dude June 15, 2019 um 9:41 pm
Only a fool sends out a lawyer to defend them while withholding important facts.
So he is either honoring his NDA, which most lawyers have to do anyway, or Cook is a bigger fool than even his critics claim if he truly didn’t realize he was in the middle of a price fixing scam.
Either will do.
Disgusting Dude June 15, 2019 um 9:52 pm
One thing the DOD proved in court is that it was Apple, and not the publishers, that set the terms of the conspiracy: the 30% vig and the uniform pricing range. So no, the publishers didn’t bamboozle Apple. That was their last ditch defense during the trial and nobody bought it. Apple knew exactly what they were doing and, if anything, they were ticked that only five of the six were on board. No amount of retroacrive spin can hide the findings of the court.