John Paczkowski

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Apple Says DOJ Is Trying to “Reverse Engineer a Conspiracy” in E-Books Case

Strange_Tales“Bizarre.”

Evidently that’s the word Apple has settled on to describe the U.S. Department of Justice’s e-book price fixing case against it. CEO Tim Cook used it last week during his onstage interview at D11, and Apple attorney Orin Snyder rolled it out once again during opening arguments in the trial that will determine whether Apple and a coterie of five major U.S. publishers schemed to raise e-book prices throughout the industry.

Apple’s position is that it did no such thing. And in some withering opening remarks, Snyder aggressively made that argument. He decried the case as a “sinister inference” based on ambiguous evidence, lambasted the government for bringing it and raised concerns about remarks the presiding judge made last month suggesting she thought the Justice Department might prevail.

“When the U.S. government brings a case, many assume it must have merit,” Snyder said. “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.”

According to Snyder, the DOJ’s case is built on cherry-picked quotes and bits of documentation that aren’t really incriminating when put into the broader context of a new e-book market rife with pricing tension between publishers and Amazon. In a word, it’s “fiction.”

Said Snyder, “What the government is trying to do is reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect.”

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