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The best slides from the closing arguments in the Apple ebooks case

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Apple(s aapl) and the Justice Department made closing arguments in the ebook pricing case Thursday. Apple argued that a ruling against it would lead to a “chilling” effect on commerce and content markets in the U.S., while the DOJ said this is a straightforward antitrust suit and compared Apple and publishers to Saudi Arabian oil cartels.

While we wait for Judge Denise Cote’s verdict — which could take weeks or months — here’s a peek at some of the funniest and/or most interesting slides from the closing arguments.

Apple wins on graphics and iOS imagery

Apple made a calendar to show the dates and times of its calls with publishers. Apple argues that the breaks between the calls show that it wasn’t acting as a behind-the-scenes “ringmaster.”

calendar dates

Apple took apart some of the slides from the DOJ’s opening argument, in which the DOJ mentioned a “spiderweb” of calls between Apple and publishers. Taking out calls that lasted less than a minute and calls after January 20 (which, Apple says, were negotiating calls right before the launch of the iPad), Apple wanted to show again that it actually made very few calls to publishers.

spiderweb 3

spiderweb 4Apple argues that its negotiations with publishers were difficult, and said this would not have been the case if Apple and publishers colluded.


Apple says Amazon’s move to agency was a rational business move, “for prudent and intelligent business reasons.”

apple amazon b&n

Apple argues that the iBookstore benefitted the ebooks market.


Apple closes its argument on an iPad.

close the book

The government: No iPad shots here

The DOJ opens with a slide showing that ebook prices rose after agency pricing was enacted.

doj ebook prices rose

“We have a calendar too, Your Honor,” government attorney Mark Ryan said.

DOJ calendar

The DOJ argues that Apple’s insistence on an MFN required other retailers to adopt an MFN as well.

mfn forced to agency

Apple’s witnesses repeatedly provided unreliable testimony, the DOJ says.


When the iPad launched, Walt Mossberg asked Steve Jobs how the iBookstore could compete if it had higher prices. Jobs replied that the prices wouldn’t be higher. The DOJ then cited an email exchange between Simon & Schuster executives describing Jobs’ response as “incredibly stupid” — the DOJ says they knew it was something Jobs should not have revealed.

incredibly stupid

Apple and publishers knew that ebook prices would be higher under agency, the DOJ argues.

doj ebook prices higher

This was straightforward price-fixing, the DOJ argues.

straightforwardView Apple’s full closing argument here.

View the government’s full closing argument here.

7 Responses to “The best slides from the closing arguments in the Apple ebooks case”

  1. Will White

    At the end of the day, it is the pro-competitive slide that apple presented that really makes the case. Amazon was the only player in e-books and that was bad … introduction of the iPad and moving to agency pricing provided the incentive to break Amazon’s lock on e-books and that is better for consumers in the end … anti-Trust law is centered on protecting the interests of consumers from monopoly interests … with that slide, I don’t see how Apple (even if collusion was involved) can be found to have operated outside consumer interests.

    In the end, even if they lose, consumers are better of for the introduction of competition in the e-book market.

    • spixleatedlifeform

      “I don’t see how Apple (even if collusion was involved) can be found to have operated outside consumer interests”


      How much worse could you have demonstrated you lack of understanding of the very definition of a criminal act?

      How does it constitute being in the consumers’ best interest if the prices went up by more than 25%? In fact, it looks more like 50% increase. Have the anti-reg/anti-enforcement bloviators so corrupted your capacity to reason that you actually believe your statements?


    • Prices going up and being forced up on Amazon dose not seem to be good for the consumer.

      Also, how is a price of 13 dollars justified for a transfer of electrons? No paper, no transport costs, no rental of space in bookstores, no real publicity, no remaindering, the author gets 15%… I fail to see how publishers arrive at that figure.

    • Tim Wilhoit

      “I don’t see how Apple (even if collusion was involved) can be found to have operated outside consumer interests.”

      It’s irrelevant whether Apple had any consumers’ “interests” at heart. The DoJ had two things to prove 1) horizontal price-fixing occurred and 2) Apple coordinated said price-fixing. Horizontal price-fixing is illegal “per se.” No excuses are accepted. If the DoJ has proven those two points, Apple will be found guilty. I don’t understand why Apple’s lawyers were arguing irrelevancies such as “we conspired for the public good.” I could understand if there was a jury involved. Judge Cote is unlikely to be distracted by side issues.