According to a report in the Daily Online Examiner, Apple has filed fresh court papers claiming the “tremendous procompetitive effects” of its entry into the ebook market. This comes prior to its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal over the ebook agency pricing decision, due to be considered on February 19th.
I can’t claim to be any kind of authority on antitrust law. But so far both Apple’s new reported claims and the amicus brief filed by the Authors Guild don’t seem to have done anything to take the argument beyond the question of why Amazon and the Big Six (now Five) did it. The Authors Guild also declared that, “Whatever else may be said about how Apple entered the market, one thing is clear: Following its entry the industry became more competitive.” Apple’s latest arguments, if reported accurately, sound like a straight rerun of those.
Another claim reportedly made by Apple is that the procompetitive effects of its entry into the ebook market included an overall increase in ebook sales. That argument seems to be a bit challenged by the fact that, now that the Big Five has imposed agency pricing on Amazon for their titles at least, their sales are falling. As well as shooting themselves in the foot (feet?), they don’t seem to be doing their former ally’s case any good either. That wasn’t an item in the mix before, but now it is. And since Apple doesn’t seem to have moved its own arguments on at all, that could leave things looking even worse for them on this go-round.
Neither the plaintiff nor its allies, catspaws, and useful idiots appear ready to challenge the basic point that, yes, Apple and the Big Six did collude to fix prices. Is the Supreme Court likely to conclude that this was a Good Thing? I wouldn’t expect so, but could it be that the Apple Reality Distortion Field stretches up even as high as the U.S. Supreme Court?