Apple Ebook Trial: Scamming U.S. Consumers and Living to Tell the Tale


Monday marked the beginning of the trial between the U.S. Justice Department and Apple Computer, in which the company will attempt to proclaim its innocence concerning accusations that it conspired with five major publishers to knock Amazon out of competition. 

Amazon, Apple’s biggest competitor, sold popular e-books for only $9.99, a virtually unbeatable price. In order to eliminate this perceived corporate threat, Apple joined forces with Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, the Hachette Book Group, and the  Penguin and Macmillan publishing companies to coax Amazon into giving the companies a higher rate, thereby raising the e-book prices. 

As a result, in 2010, e-book prices increased by a whopping 50%, a fact that Justice Department lawyer Lawrence Buterman cited to substantiate his claims against the company. Additionally, Buterman claimed that he had access to a few of company owner Steve Jobs' email correspondences in which he encouraged the company to raise e-book prices from $12.99 and $14.99. 

Despite the existence of several key pieces of evidence that clearly highlight Apple’s malfeasance, the company’s current CEO Tim Cook had the audacity to claim otherwise. “Apple is going to trial because it did nothing wrong,” he said. Apple is going to trial because it did nothing wrong? It is peculiar that Cook instead did not attempt to claim that the company was going to trial despite having done nothing wrong. Certainly, most people never knew that playing by the rules was the standard way to land one’s self in court.  

What is also notable is that Apple’s attorney Orin Snyder attempt to explain that the government has altogether misunderstood the case. “Even our government is fallible, and sometimes the government just gets it wrong,” Snyder said. You are right, Mr. Snyder. Sometimes, the government does not have as much knowledge as it boasts. But it does not take a lawyer to recognize that there are a few similarities between politics and Apple. Not only are they both businesses, but they both also have members in their systems that despite being indubitably guilty, have an excruciatingly difficult time telling the truth. 

No matter how extensively the company strives to convince consumers that it was only attempting to benefit them by creating an innovative market of e-books, it will never be able to return the millions of dollars that the scheme cost buyers. Disappointingly, Apple will not have to pay any monetary fines for its misbehavior. Instead, the government has decided to pursue an order that, in the future, will prevent Apple from engaging in similar anticompetitive actions in the e-book market. 

If all the castigation Apple will receive is an order that will scold it for its actions and bar it from repeating the misconduct that should have never occurred initially, it appears that the company will essentially be granted a single slap on the wrist. Although one can be upset that the company will be facing a punishment that would at worst, keep its unscrupulous tactics to a minimum, it's not terribly surprising to find out that this is the worst that could happen