The e-book antitrust case is going to trial Monday, and those present in the Manhattan federal courthouse will finally get to see why Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook hasn’t already settled the case.
The court date comes nearly 14 months after Attorney General Eric Holder sued Apple and five other book publishers in April 2012, alleging that Apple was the “ringmaster” of a cartel of publishers that conspired against Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to raise the price of e-books.
The five publishers include HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Penguin, all of whom have since settled. This then begs the question of why Cook has yet to do the same, as Apple is now the only company defending the contracts that the other publishers have deserted. As part of their settlement, they agreed to allow Amazon to go back to selling their e-books at $9.99, also terminating the “most-favored nation” deal with Apple which effectively forced Amazon to match Apple’s higher prices.
Legal experts are doubtful about Apple’s chance of winning, especially since the U.S. Department of Justice claims to have clear evidence of Apple’s scheming. However, Apple is still contesting the lawsuit, and because it doesn’t seem likely that the company would pursue a case it didn’t think it could win, many are curious to see what Cook has up his sleeve.
At the D: All Things Digital conference last week, Cook claimed, “We’ve done nothing wrong there, and so we’re taking a very principled position…We’re not going to sign something that says we did something we didn’t do…So we’re going to fight.”
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