Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Apple Fires Back at the Feds, Amazon

Nearly two days after the Department of Justice filed antitrust charges against Apple and major book publishers, Apple is responding. Here’s a comment from Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr:

The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.

Apple’s response is similar to ones made by Penguin Group and MacMillan, two of the five publishers named in the suit. The three other publishers — HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster — signed settlements with the DOJ immediately after the suit was filed Wednesday morning. (News Corp., which owns HarperCollins, also owns this Web site.)

It’s worth noting that Apple’s pricing policy with books and apps differs from the setup it has with the music industry. In that relationship, Apple pays the music labels a wholesale price for their digital assets, and then sets the retail price itself.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik