Does DOJ Have Weak Case Against Apple?
Within the boundaries of U.S. antitrust law, not everyone is buying the Justice Department's legal pursuit of Apple for alleged e-book price fixing. Similar to what happened in 1982 -- when the DOJ admitted its antitrust lawsuit against IBM was "without merit," and abandoned the case -- this latest effort is “likely to end in defeat,” contends CNet. More recently, in 2001, a federal appeals court shot down the Justice Department's attempt to, in CNet’s words, “rewrite antitrust law,” by breaking Microsoft into two separate entities. Apple’s publishing partners, however, might have a harder to avoiding prosecution.
"It's a harder case against Apple than the publishers," according to Geoffrey Manne, who teaches antitrust law at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon. Writes CNet: “One reason lies in the Justice Department's 36-page complaint, which recounts how publishers met over breakfast in a London hotel and dinners at Manhattan's posh Picholine restaurant, which boasts a ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ from Wine Spectator. The key point is that Apple wasn't present.”
Adds Dominick Armentano, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Hartford: the DOJ "has a far better case against the publishers than Apple … If the CEOs of the various publishers got together in hotel rooms to discuss prices, they are sunk.”