It ain’t over till it’s over. But the question is, when is it over?
Despite a 2013 federal court ruling — backed in June by an appellate court decision — that Apple is guilty of conspiracy to fix ebook prices, it appears the company is now getting ready to take it to the top, according to a report from Fortune.
Though Apple was found liable for conspiring with publishers to raise the price of ebooks upon the 2010 launch of its original iPad and iBookstore, the company has always insisted it did nothing wrong. And on Wednesday, Apple filed papers with the US Supreme Court that allow it to take its best and last shot at proving it.
The company sought a 30-day extension for filing a formal submission that would set an appeal in motion. If the request is granted, Apple will have until October 28 to petition the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court rulings.
Apple argued in its filing that at the time the iPad launched, Amazon controlled 90 percent of the ebook market and used its leverage to sell some titles below cost. In order for Apple’s fledgling iBookstore to compete, the company arranged with six publishers to switch pricing models so as to match or beat their rival. Subsequently, the cost of some ebooks actually rose, and the Apple group got the book thrown at it.
Why go through another huge legal hassle years after the verdict, especially when a mighty financial powerhouse like Apple can well afford the $450 million it would take to settle the antitrust claims? It appears the fight is on principle.
“This question is exceedingly important to the United States economy as it concerns the rules that will govern disruptive entry by dynamic companies into new or stagnant markets,” according to Apple.
The company would have to pay the fine in the event that the High Court either rejects the case or rules against it.