New E-book Antitrust Claims, from BooksOnBoard and the Diesel Books Successor

macUser2007

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May 30, 2007
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Publishers Weekly obviously has a strong slant reporting this story, but it is a remainder that smaller sellers were badly hurt by the apple instigated conspiracy.

But ultimately, it is consumers who will keep paying the (higher) price.

Apple, Publishers Battle New E-book Antitrust Claims

...Now, this month, two related cases have been accepted by Cote: one filed by Lavoho, LLC, a "successor" to the Diesel eBook Store; and another from Abbey House Media, formerly BooksonBoard.
...
Each suit claims the plaintiffs "did not want to agree to the agency agreements," but "had virtually no choice but to sign them" if they wanted to sell the publishers' books.

A similar phrase in each suit notes that even if the plaintiffs could have "somehow convinced one of the Publisher Defendants to allow it to drop below the tiered prices, the series of MFN clauses would still have insulated Apple from price competition."

Just as Amazon was forced to raise prices, the suits claim, each of the plaintiffs was "forced to stop discounting its prices and cease using its already developed discount-driven promotional tools."

This was "the coup de grace to DNAML 's business," the DNAML complaint notes.

BooksOnBoard lost "80% of its active customers" as "a direct result of the conspiracy," its suit claims. After the agency switch, the company's "years of steady growth abruptly ceased" and its revenue and profit plunged. "Two years after receiving a valuation of $6 million, BooksOnBoard received an offer for $600,000, a 90% percent drop in value." It ceased operations on April 6, 2013.

...

Diesel (now Lovoho), claims it was working with "an interested software company" on a multimillion dollar "social e-book reader which would have been Diesel branded." But after "the Defendants forced the industry to change to agency," Diesel's business model was "decimated" and its "potential suitor" walked....
 

macUser2007

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And here is more:


U.S. judge OKs class action status in e-book suit against Apple

...U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said the plaintiffs had "more than met their burden" to allow them to sue as a group. She rejected Apple's contentions that the claims were too different from each other, or that some plaintiffs were not harmed because some e-book prices fell.

Cote found the technology company liable in July 2013 for colluding with the publishers after a non-jury trial in a case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Later this year, Cote will preside over a separate trial to determine damages, which could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

Thirty-three states and U.S. territories have separately sued on behalf of their consumers, while consumers in the remaining states filed the class action lawsuit that Cote addressed on Friday. The 33 states are seeking more than $800 million in damages....
 

bobenhaus

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Mar 2, 2011
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US Judge Gives Ok to class action lawsuit against Apple ebook

http://www.technobuffalo.com/2014/03/29/u-s-judge-gives-the-thumbs-up-in-class-action-e-book-lawsuit-against-apple/

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote this week granted class certification in an e-book suit against Apple. A group of consumers seeking more than $800 million in damages have sued Apple for conspiring with publishers to fix e-book prices. Apple earlier contended that some plaintiffs were not harmed, or their claims were otherwise too different from each other. But Judge Cote ruled that the plaintiffs had “more than met their burden,” and allowed them to sue as a group, Reuters reported.

A trial is set to take place in either July or September, and could see Apple pay out millions. Publishers already agreed to settle charges before the trial, while Apple has already been found guilty of price fixing last July. Earlier this year, the Cupertino company was given a temporary reprieve from an external monitor meant to oversee its anti-trust compliance. Apple has filed a formal appeal against last year’s decision, which Reuters said could take months.

Reuters said thirty-three states and U.S. territories have sued on behalf of their consumers, while individual consumers in other states and territories filed their own class action lawsuit. In addition to Cote’s Friday ruling, the judge denied Apple’s request to exclude the opinions of the plaintiffs’ damages expert. Cote called the case a “paradigmatic antitrust class action.”
 
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macUser2007

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Right, and MacRumors is running a Home Page story "Apple's Arizona Sapphire Plant May See Expansion to Bolster Yields" instead....

The sad part is that Apple's conspired to cause this huge disruption of the ebook market so that it can sell iPads, and it did. Whatever penalties are levied at the end, it is likely that it would have still been worth it for Apple, as the iBooks store already played its part in pushing iPad sales.

Mission accomplished, for Apple. Consumers got screwed by less competition and higher prices, and smaller competitors went out of business, with new entrants all but barred.

It's just the cost of doing business for Big Business (yep, Apple is Big Business), unless there are criminal penalties.
 

BaldiMac

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Jan 24, 2008
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Right, and MacRumors is running a Home Page story "Apple's Arizona Sapphire Plant May See Expansion to Bolster Yields" instead....

The sad part is that Apple's conspired to cause this huge disruption of the ebook market so that it can sell iPads, and it did. Whatever penalties are levied at the end, it is likely that it would have still been worth it for Apple, as the iBooks store already played its part in pushing iPad sales.

Mission accomplished, for Apple. Consumers got screwed by less competition and higher prices, and smaller competitors went out of business, with new entrants all but barred.

It's just the cost of doing business for Big Business (yep, Apple is Big Business), unless there are criminal penalties.
1) Competition increased after Apple entered the market.

Before Apple:
90% Amazon
10% Other

After Apple:
60% Amazon
20% Apple
20% Other

2) As we have discussed before, here is the list of comments submitted to the DOJ as part of the settlement process with the publishers. Note that 789 out of 868 comments were opposed to the DOJ's proposal. Including the Author's Guild and many smaller booksellers.

http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/apple/alpha.html

Despite your cherry picked examples, many smaller booksellers were actually helped by agency pricing.

3) No collusion was necessary for publishers to switch smaller booksellers to agency pricing.
 

question fear

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Apr 10, 2003
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The "Garden" state
The problem with the "Competition increased when Apple entered the market" argument is that it is wrong. B&N had just released the NOOK a little over an year earlier and it was picking up steam. Kobo was just starting to aggressively get into the hardware markets.

While Apple entering added a big player, there were already market forces taking share from Amazon, and that would have continued regardless of whether Apple released iBooks or not.
 

BaldiMac

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Jan 24, 2008
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The problem with the "Competition increased when Apple entered the market" argument is that it is wrong. B&N had just released the NOOK a little over an year earlier and it was picking up steam. Kobo was just starting to aggressively get into the hardware markets.

While Apple entering added a big player, there were already market forces taking share from Amazon, and that would have continued regardless of whether Apple released iBooks or not.
Source? The numbers that I cited were widely reported. Which do you disagree with?