/// Apple E-Books Ruling Won’t Do Much For Consumers

July 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital


A federal judge’s ruling that Apple conspired with publishers to raise the prices of e-books may have broad implications for the publishing industry and for Internet companies providing media content over the Web, but it will have little immediate impact on consumers. Since the five publishers accused of conspiring with Apple already settled with the Department of Justice, agreeing to lift restrictions it had imposed on price discounting and other promotions by e-book retailers, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s decision won’t accomplish much for the folks who actually buy and read e-books. “One of the reasons this case is interesting is that the mere fact that the government brought the complaint immediately improved life for consumers,” Stanford law school professor Mark Lemley told AllThingsD. “Ebook prices dropped by a third literally overnight, as Amazon was free to lower its prices. So I wouldn’t expect to see a dramatic effect on consumer prices as a result of this ruling — we’ve already gotten the benefit of antitrust enforcement.” In other words, the DOJ’s victory today over Apple is largely a symbolic one. Its antitrust pursuit of Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster already ensured competition in industry. If there truly was harm done to the market, it’s largely been undone. And, as Forrester analyst James McQuivey observes, the e-books business will pretty much remain as it is. “Amazon is still the dominant player and Apple is still picking up crumbs leftover by the big bookseller,” McQuivey told AllThingsD

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Apple E-Books Ruling Won’t Do Much For Consumers


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