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Tim Cook ordered to testify in e-book antitrust lawsuit

updated 03:18 pm EDT, Wed March 13, 2013

Apple CEO asked to provide four hours of information

CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to testify in the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple, Reuters reports. US District Judge Denise Cote has asked Cook to provide four hours of testimony, fulfilling requests by prosecutors, who have argued that the executive likely has relevant knowledge of Apple's 2010 entry into e-books with the iBookstore. Apple opposed involving Cook, claiming that the deposition of 11 other executives made the CEO's participation "cumulative and duplicative." Cote, though, has taken the position that the passing of Steve Jobs -- in charge of Apple at the time the iBookstore was introduced -- means the DoJ is "entitled to take testimony from high-level executives."

Apple is now the only defendant in the case, since the publishers Apple is accused of colluding with have all settled. Together the parties in the case are accused of trying to fix e-book prices, ensuring that the iBookstore would have prices cheaper than other e-book vendors or at least on par. The companies are specifically said to have been aiming at Amazon, whose Kindle titles were priced lower than what Apple and the book publishers allegedly wanted.

The iBookstore marked an industry shift towards an "agency" model. Previously Amazon benefited from access to a wholesale model, in which it and other vendors could buy books in bulk and sell them at or below cost. Under the agency system, publishers can choose what a title's pricing.

by MacNN Staff



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