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Apple should have settled in ebook antitrust case, warns expert

Department of Justice has evidence that prosecutors "fantasise about"

While Apple has responded to the US Department of Justice's antitrust charges filed against it and book publishers accused of ebook price-fixing, claiming the iBookstore fosters competition, and broke Amazon's monopolistic grip on publishing, a former Federal Trade Commission policy director has said that Apple should have settled.

David Balto claimed the DOJ's evidence against Apple, which includes records of emails and phone calls that allegedly show executives, including Apple's late-CEO Steve Jobs, conspiring to increase the price of ebooks, is the kind that prosecutors "fantasize about."

According to an Information Week report, Balto said the evidence in the DOJ's case against Apple is so strong that Apple, Penguin and MacMillan would be foolish not to settle.

Balto said: "One must wonder about the degree to which these business people thought about asking their antitrust lawyers for advice. Clearly the government has a case, and it will survive any motion to dismiss."

Balto also noted that the case has been assigned to Judge Denise Cote who is "She's fair, but she's very tough," he also suggested that by refusing to settle, Apple risks harsher penalties: "The one thing about refusing to settle is that you can expect the government to be a lot tougher," he told Information Week.


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