After a lengthy court battle over ebook price fixing and collusion with several of the Big Five publishers, Apple’s legal drama is far from over. Apple has now requested a stay of all proceedings while waiting for the appeals on two rulings handed down last month by Judge Denise Cote.
The trial and subsequent proceedings have not gone well for the tech giant, with Apple’s attorneys openly stating that this amounts to nothing more than a witch hunt and that the judge presiding over the suits has agenda against Apple. While the publishers involved in the case settled out of court but maintain that there was no wrongdoing–citing that the settlement terms were ultimately less expensive than the legal fees to fight the lawsuit–Apple was not offered that opportunity yet has remained smugly confident that it will come out on top.
In this recent motion, Apple’s attorneys state their confidence in winning the pending appeals is the deciding factor. In their minds, if and not when they win, the proceedings would be undermined if they were allowed to move forward at this time.
Apple has had its share of pain in this process, with an outsider moderator appointed to oversee the company’s dealings in order to avoid future antitrust violations. The company was accused of not playing nicely with its court appointed moderator, leading to new appearances in court to be reminded that they will comply with the ruling and turn over crucial documents in a timely way to this moderator.
Apple is awaiting the May court date to determine the damages they will pay for attempting to oust Amazon in the e-reading market by colluding with publishers to artificially raise ebook prices. Although the early figures on the damages seem staggering on the surface, the 200-plus million dollars can actually be tripled under punitive damages regulations; that resulting $800 million–give or take a few million–would be approximately .5% of Apple’s cash on hand.