updated 03:43 pm EDT, Thu June 13, 2013
Blames publishers' resentment towards Amazon prices
Apple's senior VP for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, testified today in defense of the company at the Department of Justice's ongoing antitrust trial over e-book prices. Cue was responsible for negotiating publisher deals to help launch the iBookstore in 2010. Apple is accused, however, of colluding with publishers to switch the e-book industry to an agency model, specifically with the aim of forcing prices higher and undermining Amazon's then-standard $10 pricetag.
Cue admits that e-book prices did go up after the iBookstore launched, but claims it was the result of publishers being unhappy with Amazon's low pricing, rather than any potentially illegal actions on Apple's part. Publishers "expressed to us [Apple] that they wanted higher prices," Cue said earlier today.
The executive also claims to be unaware of whether publishers were working together when negotiating with Apple and Amazon. He suggests, though, that because the publishers all had problems with different aspects of the proposed iBookstore contract, "if they talked together, I assumed it would be easier to get the deals done." He insists that he "wasn't trying to negotiate" for the entire e-book market or fix complaints about Amazon's business practices.