Chris J Powell

$100 Million dollar Lawsuit against…Apple

Well it would appear that the DOJ is doing its bit to protect the rights of the consumer once again.  Some may remember the massive brew ha ha that came to an anti-climatic end over a decade ago when the DOJ struck a blow against Microsoft that nearly forced it to split into two companies…well they are at it again but this time it is striking out against Apple.

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It is not just Apple that the Department of Justice (and according to several of the reports that I have read 15 states and the European Union as well) but also the big five Publishing Houses (Penguin, Harper-Collins, Hachette, Simon-Schuster and Macmillion). 

What is all this fuss about…Agency Pricing and a Grand Conspiracy of price fixing and anti-competitive actions!  Well yes…when agency pricing was announced last year it did appear that there had to be a mastermind behind it but Apple at the crux of it…well I can see that.

According to the several reports, Harper-Collins, Hachette and Simon-Schuster have already capitulated and are paying $52 Million in consumer restitution for their part in price fixing…but Apple, Penguin and Macmillion are looking to fight to the bitter end with DOJ and the State Attorney Generals about their part.

The petition against the Defendants is available over at DocStoc.com and the opening argument reeks of shady conspiracy, back room deals and late night collusion between executives at the highest of levels within the organizations.

My absolute favorite claim in the Introduction is:

7. The plan – what Apple proudly described as an “aikido move” – worked. Over three days in January 2010, each Publisher Defendant entered into a functionally identical agency contract with Apple that would go into effect simultaneously in April 2010 and “chang[e] the industry permanently.” These “Apple Agency Agreements” conferred on the Publisher Defendants the power to set Apple’s retail prices for e-books, while granting Apple the assurance that the Publisher Defendants would raise retail e-book prices at all other e-book outlets, too.  Instead of $9.99, electronic versions of bestsellers and newly released titles would be priced according to a set of price tiers contained in each of the Apple Agency Agreements that determined de facto retail e-book prices as a function of the title’s hardcover list price. All bestselling and newly released titles bearing a hardcover list price between $25.01 and $35.00, for example, would be priced at $12.99, $14.99, or $16.99, with the retail e-book price increasing in relation to the hardcover list price.

So for each of us who has made a purchase of an e-book since the “Agency Pricing Scandal” took effect…is there cause for us to be outraged…being a Canadian and a lover of all things in print (physical book collection over 600 volumes, e-book Collection sitting at around 9.5 GB and counting) yeah…I would like to see a bit of a refund coming my way but at the same time the fact that I go into a book store after 3 years of at par or better than par pricing on books and I still pay a premium of between 10-20% just because I am buying a book in Canada is even more of a tick off and I would like to see my refund on that side of things too!

Well that is my Rant for the day.  I do want to give a shout out to the staff and doctors at Western Animal Clinic in London, ON who were kind enough to send us a card yesterday for our beloved pet Freya who we had to put down last week.  It was a gesture that we did not expect and while it was sad to be reminded of our loss…it was truly appreciated.

Cheers,

Chris J Powell

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