Why Is Apple Still Wrangling Over E-Books?
A question hangs over Apple Inc.’s e-books trial: Why is Apple fighting the U.S. Department of Justice when the book publishers the agency also sued chose to settle?
The answer lies in part in what’s at stake. Apple says it is fighting the high-profile case, now in the hands of a federal judge, on the principle it did nothing wrong. But the company is defending a lot more than its tiny digital-books business. A win would help Apple maintain negotiating clout with media companies, which are searching for new ways to make money in markets shifting online. A loss could hamper its ability to compete with rivals like Amazon.com Inc. to land increasingly important media deals on favorable terms.
The government in April charged Apple and five publishers with conspiring to drive up the price of e-books for a new offering on the iPad. The publishers all settled, while Apple, whom the government has frequently painted as the “ringmaster” of the operation, fought on.