back to article Oi, ebook price fixer. Yes, you, Apple – stop whinging and get your chequebook out

A US appeals court has rejected Apple’s attempt to delay the damages trial over its ebook price-fixing scandal. The iPhone maker had hoped to postpone the hearings until after it’s had a chance to appeal its guilty verdict. In a very short order, seen by The Register, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York …


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  1. Only me!

    bring them to book!!

    Anyone how hoodwinks a whole market should be brought to book.

    If a swipe to unlock is worth silly money in the courts, then what should a real world rip off of people get???

    1. ItsNotMe

      Re: bring them to book!!

      But Apple said they did nothing wrong. Doesn't anyone believe them? Why on earth would they lie about a thing like that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: bring them to book!! Just a guess? Second guess they honestly think the did no wrong!

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: bring them to book!!

          Theoretically, they can be sued for treble damages by competitors who were damaged, since the Sherman Antitrust Act was in effect part of Theodore Roosevelt's "domestic big stick". So Apple has lots of reasons to put off the judgment.

          Not sure where we could find a competitor who was damaged though, or what the base damages subject to being trebled would be. As a part of the settlement already mentioned, the state's and feds have probably signed away any consumers rights to sue.

  2. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    The "swipe to unlock" and "rounded corners" issues were *design* patents, relating to the Apple design 'language'. (Yes, that's a thing. Go look it up.)

    Take a look at how Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 (and Windows 8) lock screens work. Yes, you "swipe to unlock", but—here's the kicker—they're NOT covered by that patent, which is very, very specific. Which is why Apple aren't chasing them for money. Samsung, on the other hand, *slavishly* ripped the Apple design off. Not just a little bit, but *completely*. Granted, they learned their lesson in later products, but if you look at those early Android v1.x and v2.x devices, you can see how sincere Samsung were being with their 'flattery'.

    The argument—specious as it is—that such features are "obvious" falls at the first hurdle: if it's so bloody obvious, *why didn't anyone else do it first?* NOBODY had anything remotely like the iPhone when that device was launched.

    If we're allowed to copyright implementations of ideas in the form of the written word, or music, or film and video, why the hell is it so wrong to apply similar protection to the *implementation* of a user interface? Those are bloody hard to get right too. (Just ask Microsoft.)

    Not that I think Apple are saints. Steve Jobs' own emails blew the foot off their ebook publishing case the article refers to. While what Apple did was wrong on a technical point of law, it's hard to see how a company with a mere 10% market share of ebook sales at best was the dangerous one in breach of anti-trust regulations, while Amazon—who have over 90%—were not. Something's clearly not right here. But Apple's lawyers must have been aware that the DoJ are obliged to uphold the law as it is, not how Apple (and others) might want it to be. That law is clearly in need of updating given the rise of digital monopsonies.

    But even I think Apple need to admit they screwed this one up. Sometimes, even Steve Jobs got it very, very wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You miss the point I think

      Well if its obvious why invent things, but someone has to be first. What paternts should protect is innovation. Not putting on a little bit of polish.

      Putting an os on a phone with a touch screen with apps is innovation.

      Stitching up a whole market to make money is .....errr.....illegal for a good reason.

    2. Eddy Ito


      The "swipe to unlock" patent, 8046721, is a utility patent and not a design patent. Let's have a look at that first claim and see if MS is in violation, shall we?

      What is claimed is:

      1. A method of unlocking a hand-held electronic device, the device including a touch-sensitive display, the method comprising: detecting a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image; continuously moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the contact while continuous contact with the touch screen is maintained, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device; and unlocking the hand-held electronic device if the moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display results in movement of the unlock image from the first predefined location to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display.

      Is a Windows Phone is a hand-held electronic device - check. Touch-sensitive display - check. Method which involves continuously sliding the image of the WP8 lock-screen 'upward' in which the image is moved from covering the whole screen to a point where about half the screen is uncovered - fits nicely with the rest of claim 1 so, check.

      Seems pretty clear, WP8 violates at least claim 1 and it wouldn't be hard to argue it violates several other claims as well. Could it be that they merely are throwing everything they have at certain 'enemies' and giving the better armed ones a free pass? Seems only smart.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Swipe to unlock...NOT APPLE OR SAMSUNG's

      Try existing for at least two years BEFORE Apple claimed it as their own...

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      " if it's so bloody obvious, *why didn't anyone else do it first?*"

      Eh? Are you saying an invention that is not obvious will never be invented because if it's obvious then someone else will have already done it, except they can't have invented it because it's obvious so someone else already did it first, but of course, someone else must have done it before them, because it's obvious...errrrrr

      Someone *has* to be first, even if it's obvious. That doesn't make it innovative.

      Anyway, slide to unlock is just a virtual implementation of a real world bog door lock.

    5. Daniel B.

      It's the MFN clause!

      it's hard to see how a company with a mere 10% market share of ebook sales at best was the dangerous one in breach of anti-trust regulations, while Amazon—who have over 90%—were not.

      You're missing the whole picture. The "Amazon is the dominant player" card is what Apple tried to use to justify their actions. But in reality, they were involved in a price-fixing conspiracy that gave plausible deniability to both parties thanks to how the contracts were made. The key was in the following things:

      Publishers were giving Apple the books under the "agency" model, which unlike the "wholesale" model the price per book is fixed by the publisher. Apple gets to set the percentage they keep, which they put at 30%. Up till here it seems to be OK, except:

      Apple added a "Most Favoured Nation" clause. Publishers that sell to Apple can't offer lower prices to other vendors, like Amazon/Kindle. Thus this clause forces everyone else to a) switch to the agency model, even if they don't want, and b) sell at the price point that the publisher has fixed. Oh, but the publishers could just point and say "oh but Apple is selling them at that price and we can't offer 'em cheaper due to our MFN contract!". But the truth is that the e-book market as a whole had a massive price hike after Apple & Co. made their deal; it was getting so stupid that paper books ended up being cheaper in some cases! And that's why Apple lost; the price hike was so noticeable that it was successfully proven in court.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge


    The same blokes now battling with Amazon over money. Nothing ever changes.

  4. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    Nice hole you're digging for yourselves Apple.

    They should just pay the damn fine before the judge gets tired of Apple's shenanigans and raises the fine into the billions of dollars, its not like they'll miss the $840 Million anyway...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple are the new Microsoft.

    Convicted monopolists, major security fails, control-freakery... they are treading the exact trajectory MS followed in the late '90s through mid-2000s.

  6. SisterClamp


    Someone ISN'T bowled over by the sheer reality-bending sexiness of Apple??? I think I need a lie-down....

  7. jof62

    Stop whingeing you turkeys try and buy it from Bozo @ amazon he is the one you should be knocking

  8. REunson

    Haven't customers already been refunded by the publishers?

    Won't they they have a tough time proving damages?

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