Apple convicted of price fixing

Pro tip: when you conspire to fix prices, don’t brag about it to the press:

When asked by a reporter later that day why people would pay $14.99 in the iBookstore to purchase an e-book that was selling at Amazon for $9.99, Jobs told a reporter, “Well, that won’t be the case.” When the reporter sought to clarify, “You mean you won’t be 14.99 or they won’t be 9.99?” Jobs paused, and with a knowing nod responded, “The price will be the same,” and explained that “Publishers are actually withholding their books from Amazon because they are not happy.” With that statement, Jobs acknowledged his understanding that the Publisher Defendants would now wrest control of pricing from Amazon and raise e-book prices, and that Apple would not have to face any competition from Amazon on price.

The import of Jobs’s statement was obvious. On January 29, the General Counsel of [Simon & Schuster] wrote to [the CEO of S&S, Carolyn] Reidy that she “cannot believe that Jobs made the statement” and considered it “[i]ncredibly stupid.”

I really lament that this happened. I used to buy a lot of ebooks, but not any more because of the price. The publishers don’t seem to understand that ebooks are a lesser product than paper and ought to cost less. Sometimes ebooks actually cost more!

It would be nice if this case returned ebook prices to where they once were, but it won’t.

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