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Tuesday, March 05, 2013, 05:43 pm PT (08:43 pm ET)

Notes from Steve Jobs' biographer will not be used in DoJ e-book case against Apple

The U.S. Department of Justice decided last week that it would not incorporate notes taken by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs' biographer into its antitrust case, which is targeting the Cupertino company over alleged e-book price fixing.

According to court documents uncovered by PaidContent on Tuesday, notes written by "Steve Jobs" author Walter Isaacson during his time with the tech guru have been dropped from the case, meaning that the biographer will also not have to provide verbal testimony.

Previously, class action lawyers participating in the lawsuit called on Isaacson to testify and provide written notes from his numerous interviews with Jobs, but the author declined, citing a New York shield law protecting journalists from revealing their sources. While the lawyers argued that the shield did not apply to the biographer, they ultimately stopped pursuing the subpoena last week.

Steve Jobs


Apple is now the lone holdout in the DoJ e-book case after Macmillan opted to settle out of court in February, joining publishing houses Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster.

The Justice Department is accusing Apple of colluding with the five publishers to falsely inflate e-book prices by using the so-called "agency model." Under that strategy, the publishing houses were allowed to set their own prices on most-favored-nations terms, meaning they could not offer the same products at lower prices through other retailers.

Apple's agency model was counter to Amazon's wholesale model, which puts pricing power in the hands of resellers by allowing them to sell e-books at or below cost.

Because end user costs were higher with the agency model, the DoJ launched an investigation into whether Apple and its publishing partners were "conspiring to raise e-book prices to consumers."

An amended complaint filed in January of 2012 included the first mention of Jobs' quotes as it related to the iBookstore's pricing model.