A long-anticipated trial in which the federal government is accusing Apple(s AAPL) of fixing the price of ebooks got underway on Monday morning. The legal issues are complex, but the trial also represents a high-stakes PR battle between the Justice Department and the technology giant.
As Reuters explained, the Justice Department has shown a new confidence in recent years in going after antitrust cases, following an embarrassing loss in 2004 when it failed to stop Oracle from acquiring PeopleSoft. In the case of the Apple ebook case, which involves allegations that Apple colluded with five big publishers to fix prices, the Justice Department has been playing an aggressive PR game — sending out documents and press releases to pump up its case.
Following this morning’s session, the government sent out slides intended to highlight the nature of the alleged conspiracy.
My colleague, Laura Owen, will have full details of this morning’s proceedings shortly. In the meantime, here’s some screenshots from the slides that the government is using to argue for Apple’s guilt. The government’s strategy appears intended to suggest that where there’s smoke, there’s fire — and that Apple must be at the end of the alleged conspiracy. Keep in mind this is just one side of the story, but here are slides showing communication between Apple SVP of Internet Services Eddy Cue and top publishing execs:
You can see the whole set of Justice Department’s “bad Apple” slides here: