The Google-Oracle fight has been going on for a long time now and has had a few ups and downs in the course of the case. The original premise of the case is that Google was able to speed up development through the reuse of nine (9) lines of code that Oracle claims are protected by copyright. One judge agreed that this was absurd, but his decision was thrown out on appeal. Now, the Department of Justice is throwing their two cents into the mix at the request of the Supreme Court. Their commentary is quite interesting…
US District Court Judge Denise Cotes has finally come back with her recommendations for Apple’s consequences in the eBook Price Fixing case. Her recommendations have met with mixed feelings from both sides (even those that feel that Apple was guilty). Most Apple fans seem to feel that this is far too harsh a punishment and that Apple did nothing wrong by brokering contracts that changed the pricing model for the entire eBook industry. Those that agree with the guilty verdict feel that the recommendations do not go far enough to change Apple’s behavior.
As expected US District Judge Denise Cote found that Apple did collude with five publishers to fix eBook prices in 2010. Although it appeared to come as a shock to some it was something that many analysts saw as inevitable. Apple faced a mountain of evidence that showed Apple acting to push the new “agency” model and then establish price guides for new books. These caps on eBook prices (along with the most favored nation clause) are what allowed Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster to move away from the $9.99 that Amazon was setting to $12.99 and $14.99.
We have been following the Apple price fixing trial over the last few weeks and have been very interested in some of the coverage that has been coming out. One of the biggest things that we have noticed is a tendency from nay press outlets to try and skirt over the issues. In particular many news sites are more than willing to completely absolve Apple of all guilt simply because the most damning emails the DoJ is using were draft emails from Steve Jobs. What is unusual about this is that many of these same sites were not willing to do the same During the Samsung V Apple trial (and also the Intel Anti-Trust case). It begs the question; why does Apple get the free pass? Still press bias or bad reporting aside the fact that these emails are drafts is really irrelevant. They show knowledge or and/or intent to set prices and force them onto a competitor.
For those of you out there that might be laboring under the illusion that Apple products are safe and secure we have some bad news for you. Someone has developed a method of poisoning iPhones, iPads, iPods, well basically anything running iOS, through the use of their charging systems. This means that someone could sell you a compromised charger and take over your phone. This type of attack is hardware based and is almost impossible to get rid of; simply resetting the phone is not going to do it. This is also not the first time that someone has used Apple hardware to create a persistent infection. Not all that long ago someone showed how easy it was to infect the batteries on the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Even the Apple Bluetooth keyboard has been used to slip malware into Apple products.
Earlier today we published an article showing how Apple is trying to get out of the price-fixing jam they are in with the US DoJ. Their new tactic is to try and show that they did nothing wrong or that the publishers that they dealt with had not already intended to do. Looking over the evidence and Apple’s pattern in dealing with partners actually looks more like Apple was behind things and used their knowledge of the situation to bring the others onboard. Now we are finding out that the DoI feels this way too and that they also have some evidence to back it up in the form of testimony from the 5 publishers in the original suit.
Over the last couple of days we have talked about the expected push from the copyright lobby for harsher laws and longer copyright periods (not to mention more control over the internet). This is a campaign that has been going on since the days of affordable internet (56kbps) and is one that will never really stop. However during this long battle there have been some highlights that make us all wonder at the motives and sanity of the key players involved. We are talking about the many domain seizures (for sites that are operating legally) and also some of the highly publicized threats that the MPAA (the leading group in this war) have made over the course of the last year.
Two days ago, (8-20-2012) we highlighted a new push by the copyright industry to stomp out piracy. It was something that we noticed with recent filings from the MPAA, RIAA and other companies that are interested in maintaining their copyright monopolies around the globe. This was the habit of adding in the words fraud, conspiracy, and anything that can make the case a larger issue and allow for asset seizure and harsher penalties against sites that the entertainment industry has targeted for removal. All of this started with the Megaupload case, which was the apparent test bed for this new push.
Although I am writing this article today the facts behind it have spanned the course of a few years going back to when Steve Jobs first fell out of the public eye and Tim Cook took over the day to day duties as CEO (although he did not have the title). At the time there were subtle indications that things were not going well at Apple even with the record sales and massive money pile in the bank. Some of the items that kept showing up in the media were about what would happen to Apple if and when Steve Jobs was gone. The articles a speculation were backed up every time there was a rumor about Steve Jobs’ health and Apple stock took a hit.
The MPAA, RIAA and in fact the entire copyright industry is a very interesting organization. On the one hand they fit an almost textbook definition of a Cartel (According to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act) but have been allowed to exist and act with impunity for many years. They have a revolving door with Government agencies in the US where many of their executives have come from our law making bodies or former executives now have positions inside those bodies. Their history of unethical and borderline illegal (many times actually illegal) actions has become the stuff of legend across many internet sites. Yet still they persist in trying to portray themselves as the victim in the cases that they are perusing around the globe.