updated 10:41 am EDT, Tue June 4, 2013
Claims government trying to 'reverse engineer a conspiracy'
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple over e-book pricing is "bizarre," said Apple lawyer Orin Snyder yesterday during the case's opening arguments. Snyder went on to call the allegations "sinister interference" based on nebulous evidence, and complain about pre-trial comments by Judge Denise Cote inferring that the DoJ was likely to win.
"When the US government brings a case, many assume it must have merit," Snyder continued. "But even our government is fallible, and sometimes the government just gets it wrong... Apple did not conspire with any publisher individually, collectively or otherwise to raise industry prices... Apple is going to trial because it did nothing wrong... Every single indicator of market health improved after Apple entered the e-book market."
The lawyer claims that the DoJ is trying to "reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect," using selective quotes and documents that aren't incriminating when put into the context of a relatively young e-book market with tension over pricing between publishers and Amazon. Apple is specifically accused, however, of conspiring with publishers to force e-book prices up past a $10 standard Amazon used to prefer. Most new high-profile e-books cost closer to $13 or $14.
Snyder's remarks borrow much of the same language Apple CEO Tim Cook used at last week's D11 conference when talking about the case. Cook may have been attempting to stay "on message," since speaking freely could accidentally provide the DoJ with evidence.