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The Apple e-books Trial Takes a Detour into the Absurd
The Apple e-books Trial Takes a Detour into the Absurd

Fortune; June 18, 2013

What started as a small "gotcha" moment in the cross examination of a mid-level Apple (AAPL) executive last week grew into a federal case -- literally -- on Monday, the ninth day of testimony in U.S.A. v. Apple.

The latest McGuffin in the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple is an e-mail signed by Steve Jobs and addressed to Eddy Cue -- the Apple senior vice president whom the government claims was the "ringmaster" of a conspiracy to raise the price of e-books in 2010.

The evidence was first sprung on Keith Moerer, the head of Apple's iBookstore, by Dan McCuaig, a DOJ attorney, in the last hour of the sixth day. Moerer and his colleague Kevin Saul had both testified that Apple was "indifferent" to what kind of agreement the publishers signed with Amazon (AMZN), then the dominant e-book seller with a 90% market share. But in an e-mail in response to some price cap changes proposed by Eddy Cue, Jobs had written on Jan. 14, 2010:

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