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Apple defense to take over in final days of e-book antitrust case

With just four days left in the U.S. government's antitrust case against Apple, the Department of Justice will rest and Apple's defense team will take over this week.

Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue first took the stand last week, and will return on Monday to complete questioning from Apple's attorneys. Following that, the DOJ is scheduled to rest its case, and Apple's defense will take the reins.

A list of witnesses scheduled to take the stand were presented on Monday by Apple 2.0. They include:

  • Rob McDonald, head of Apple's U.S. iBookstore operations
  • Eric Gray, director of iTunes operations
  • Theresa Horner, head of digital content at Barnes & Noble
  • A trio of experts are also scheduled to testify about Apple's effect on the e-book market

Apple's defense team will have three days to bring all of its witnesses to the stand. Summations are scheduled for Thursday, after which U.S. District Judge Denise Cote will write her decision, expected to be handed down within a matter of weeks.

The DOJ has attempted to prove that Apple was involved in a price fixing scheme, colluding with five of the world's largest book publishers to falsely inflate the cost of e-books. Apple entered the e-book business in 2010, when it launched the first iPad.

When he took the stand last week, Cue said Apple originally looked to adopt the wholesale model used by market leader Amazon, which allows retailers to price e-books after buying the titles from content owners. But after discussing the terms with publishers, the company decided to instead employ the agency model, allowing content owners to set prices under a most-favored-nations clause, which precluded them from selling the same titles to another reseller for less without offering the same to Apple.