Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is having a tough week already. Not only was CEO Tim Cook facing some backlash from some senators after testifying on Capitol Hill – in this partisan culture, we have to qualify here that only about half of the senators were negative, while the other half was fairly positive about the testimony – regarding the company’s decision not to repatriate foreign profits and pay taxes (oh, the humanity!). Now, Apple is not getting fair and balanced treatment from a federal judge, who is supposed to be fair and balanced in issuing justice.
Of course, Judge Denise Cote qualifies her statement by admitting she has not seen all of the evidence and has not read the affidavits in the case yet, but she apparently couldn’t help herself. At a pre-trial hearing for the e-book price-fixing case involving Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) against the U.S. Department of Justice, Cote just had to take the unusual step of tipping her hand in terms of where she was leaning in this case – though the trial doesn’t start until June 3.
“I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that,” Cote said.
Of course, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) “strongly disagrees” with the judge’s unusual contention, and the attorneys say they look forward to presenting the case in its entirety.
Cote will be overseeing this trial without a jury. The case is getting national attention because the DOJ is alleging that Apple was the “ringmaster” in a conspiracy to fix e-book prices in collusion with five publishing houses, all in an attempt to take market share away from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
This suit alleges that the publishing houses – all of whom have settled with Justice, thus are no longer parties in this suit – took back the pricing model from the retailers, setting the prices at which the e-books must be sold. That took away Amazon’s power to set its own prices, which supposedly balanced the playing field in the market more.
What are your thoughts about the judge’s comments regarding Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)? Do you think they were approprite and necessary, or do you see something wrong with what she said on the record? And what are your thoughts about this case in general? Give us your feedback in the comments section below.