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苹果电子书案结果或对商界造成激冷反应

发布时间:2020-01-14 21:42:17 阅读: 来源:提花机厂家

6月21日消息,据外媒报道,周四(6月20日)美国司法部起诉苹果联合出版商暗中操纵电子书价格一案美国法院做出裁决,苹果律师斯奈德(Snyder)否认暗中操纵电子书价格,并表示美国司法部有意恶化苹果形象。苹果律师斯奈德在审判的最后一天时称,如果苹果被裁定有罪,法院的裁判将对商界造成“激冷效应”,即人们在参加讨论因害怕言论遭到国家刑罚或是面对高额的赔偿而不敢发表言论。

美国司法部指控苹果从2009年底开始就开始与美国出版商联合抬高电子书的价格,削弱了当时占主导地位的亚马逊公司的市场,出版商们已经与政府解决。

在周四结束辩论时,苹果公司的辩论遭到美国地方法院法官丹尼斯·科特(Denise Cote)的严厉质问。斯奈德认为司法部提交的所有证据都是含糊不清的,并不足以证明苹果联同出版商操纵电子书价格,Snyder 甚至还将司法部的行为描述为“在玩文字游戏”。

三个星期的时间,美国政府一直试图证明苹果联合五大出版商抬高由亚马逊制定的9.9美元电子书价格。亚马逊当时控制了90%的电子书市场,并一直以批发价格购买图书,然后低价卖给用户以推广其Kindle阅读器的市场。

相比之下,苹果则进入所谓的与出版商之间的代理协议,但并不是苹果将价格抬高至12.99美元和14.99美元,而政府辩称此举是出版商得到授权才对亚马逊的定价进行反击。苹果则从五大出版商家得到30%的佣金,包括Hachette、HarperCollins、Macmillan、Penguin与Simon & Schuster。

司法部律师马克·瑞恩说,签署交易后出版商们给施压,要求其转换成代理模式,并允许出版商将业界的价格提高9%。司法部并不向苹果寻求索赔。在周四的幻灯片演示中,司法部表示它希望苹果的代理模式得到两年的禁止,并签署五年禁止使用的价格平价合同条款。

政府是否应该占上风,33个州的检察长在单独审判时主张苹果应对此案负责任做出索赔。(元器件交易网郭路平 译)

来源:reuters

Apple warns of "chilling effect" as antitrust trial ends

(Reuters) - Apple Inc, on trial for allegedly colluding to raise the price of e-books, said on Thursday an adverse ruling would have a "chilling effect" on how businesses investigate new markets.

If Apple was found guilty, it would "send shudders through the business community" by condemning the ordinary negotiations that companies undertake to enter new markets, the company"s lawyer, Orin Snyder, said on the last day of the trial.

"We submit a ruling against Apple on this record sets a dangerous precedent," Snyder said.

The U.S. Justice Department accuses Apple of conspiring with U.S. publishers beginning in late 2009 to increase the price of e-books in an effort to undercut the pricing established by then-dominant Inc. The publishers have settled with the government.

Throughout closing arguments Thursday, Apple found itself fighting back against tough questioning by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote.

At one point on Thursday, Cote asked if it was correct that Apple "understood publishers were willing to work together to put pressure on Amazon."

Snyder responded there was no evidence Apple understood the publishers were allegedly conspiring together before it proposed creating an online bookstore for its coming iPad. Apple had no idea the publishing executives were calling each other and having dinners together."There is no such thing as a conspiracy by telepathy," Snyder said.

For three weeks, the government has sought to show the popular iPad maker conspired with five of the biggest publishers to raise prices for new and bestselling books from the $9.99 set by .

, which at the time controlled up to 90 percent of the e-book market, had been buying books at wholesale and then selling them at times below its costs as it promoted its Kindle reading device.

Apple, by contrast, entered into so-called agency agreements in which publishers rather than Apple set book prices of up to $12.99 and $14.99, in a move the government contends enabled publishers to push back against "s pricing.

Apple in exchange got a 30 percent commission from the publishers, who included Pearson Plc"s Penguin Group, News Corp"s HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp"s Simon & Schuster Inc, Lagardere SCA"s Hachette Book Group Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH"s Macmillan.

After signing the deals, the government said publishers pushed into the agency model, allowing publishers to increase prices, which shot up 9 percent industrywide, Mark Ryan, a Justice Department lawyer, said.

"Only a united industry front could move Amazon off its $9.99 price," he said.

Cote, who has said before the trial began that she thought the government would be able to show direct evidence Apple engaged in the conspiracy, also interrupted Ryan as he made his closing argument.

At one point, she asked Ryan how he responded to Apple"s "argument that it didn"t raise prices as the e-books would have been unavailable at any price."

Earlier Thursday, Snyder had argued that before Apple entered the market, publishers had begun withholding popular new titles from e-bookstores until the hardback version had been on sale for a number of weeks. Without Apple"s entry, those titles would not have been available as e-books immediately, he said.

Ryan, who had earlier shown statistics that publishers withheld titles just 37 times in 2009, said he rejected Apple"s argument. It was unclear how the future would have played out, he said.

"We don"t know what course competition would have taken the industry on," Ryan said.

The Justice Department is not seeking damages against Apple. In a slide presented Thursday, the Justice Department said it wanted Apple to be prohibited from the agency model for two years and a five-year prohibition against the use of price-parity contract clauses at the center of the case, among other remedies.

Should the government prevail, a separate trial would be held on damage claims asserted by 33 state attorneys general whose case on liability was also being heard during the last few weeks.

The case is United States v. Apple Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-02826.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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