A lot of the sentiment coming from the defense in the on-going Apple anti-trust lawsuit, brought about by the Department of Justice following a three-year investigation involving five of the largest publishers in the world, is that the DOJ is wasting its time going after a company that was in a distant third place behind Amazon and Barnes and Noble. At the time of the alleged price fixing deals, Amazon controlled 90% of the ebook market. Now, however, reports show that Apple’s place in the ebook business is steadily rising, thanks to the availability of its reading platforms.
From the remaining ten percent of the market that Apple shared with virtually every other retailer except Amazon, Apple now apparently holds about 20% of the ebook market, according to website MacRumors. This market position is great for the iPad manufacturer and iBooks developer, but does seem to make the case for the allegations that the attempt to fix the price of ebooks by insisting on an agency model from the publishers was timed to coincide with the launch of the iPad in 2010.
However, one legitimate reason for future possible growth in Apple’s position is its pending cross-platform capability, something that Amazon and even Nook users have been able to enjoy for some time. Thanks to the Kindle and Nook apps for PC, smartphone, and tablet, Amazon’s and B&N’s customers have been able to read their libraries from virtually any enabled device, while Apple’s reading consumers didn’t have the luxury of reading on a computer. That will change over the coming months, thanks to the iBooks app for Mac, which will roll out with OS X this fall.
According to an article by Darrell Etherington for TechCrunch, the real opportunity for Apple in terms of launching this app for Mac will come from the education realm, where Apple has enjoyed a long-standing history of providing high-quality content on worthwhile devices.
While the coming update does nothing to explain the allegations of substantial e-reading growth that Apple is currently answering for, and while Apple consumers will still be limited to their brand-specific devices for reading, it will provide their consumers another outlet for digital consumption.