updated 09:40 am EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Claims verdict was a 'radical departure from modern antitrust law'
Apple has filed an official appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, seeking to overturn District Court Judge Denise Cote's verdict in July, which found Apple in violation of antitrust laws through its handling of e-book deals. "The district court's ruling that Apple, in the very act of launching the iPad, inventing the iBooks Store, and entering the e-books market, violated the Sherman Act is a radical departure from modern antitrust law and policy. If allowed to stand, the ruling will stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers," the company claims in its appellate opening brief.
Apple also points to Amazon's dominant position in the e-book market -- which was even stronger at the time the iBookstore was launched, representing nine out of 10 sales -- and states that the court "did not find that 'Apple itself desired higher e-book prices than those offered at Amazon,'" but instead found that the iPad "encouraged innovation and competition." Continuing, Apple charges that Cote "repeatedly" applied bad legal standards in her decision, resulting in a "false conclusion of a price-fixing conspiracy."
The company is accused of conspiring with five major book publishers to fix e-book prices with the launch of the iBookstore, inflating them over Amazon's then-typical $10 pricetag. This was allegedly arranged through the switch to an agency model instead of the previous wholesale model used with Amazon, and most controversially "most favored nation" clauses, which prevented any competing vendor from selling books for less than the iBookstore. In the aftermath of the iBookstore's launch, the standard price of e-books climbed to around $13 to $15.