The United States government said on Monday that there were 100 phone calls among top executives of the publishing industry in the weeks leading up to Apple’s introduction of the iPad in 2010, when they had to decide whether to sign on to a deal with Apple that would raise the prices of e-books.
At least three publishers confided with one another about their plans, Lawrence Buterman, a justice department lawyer, said on the opening day of the government’s antitrust case against Apple, being argued in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. Government lawyers presented a timeline that included not only the records of the phone calls but also e-mail transcripts. The government also showed an e-mail with the travel itinerary for Apple’s lawyer, which shows him meeting with publishers in December 2009, and his notes from those meetings.
E-mails from Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president of Internet software and services, were part of the publishers’ discussions, suggesting that he assured each of them that they were part of a collective effort to destroy Amazon’s model of selling e-books for a uniform $9.99, the government said.
All this adds up to proof that Apple led an elaborate scheme to fix prices of e-books, they said.