The Department of Justice e-book price fixing case against Apple wrapped up today with closing arguments from both sides.
Apple’s lead counsel Orin Snyder argued that the agency not only failed to meet its burden of proof but overreached by seeking to prosecute Apple for legitimate business practices.
“Apple did not conspire with a single publisher to fix prices in the e-book industry,” Snyder said, arguing that the negotiations under scrutiny in this case were nothing more than “standard, lawful business activity.” And the DOJ’s claim that they were more than that, a nefarious plot over which Apple served as ringmaster, is entirely unsupported. “All of the government’s evidence is ambiguous at best,” Snyder argued, lambasting the DOJ’s case as one built on “word games and inferences.”
Apple says it didn’t force Amazon or anyone else to adopt an “agency” e-book pricing model; rather, it moved to further its own legal business goals by embracing an agency model already considered by others. Snyder said that publishers and retailers did the same.
He also noted that while the DOJ has been claiming “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, that’s a theatrical smoke bomb rather than a destructive fire. Synder said that accepting that as truth and ruling against Apple would have “a chilling and confounding effect not only on commerce, but through content markets across the country.”
Apple closed its arguments by showing an iPad with the text “It’s time to close the book on this case.”