This one tugs at me from both directions. I like Apple. I like Amazon.
I like lower eBook prices. Not as a writer, but as a consumer. How did I feel when Apple made the deal with the big publishing houses, which resulted in eBook prices going up?
I was pissed off. I sided with Amazon. Now Senator Chuck Schumer (Dem., NY) is asking the DOJ to drop the suit and leave the market alone, and my reaction is, initially, that Apple and the big publishers have this guy in their pocket. Especially spouting seeming nonsense like this: “The suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market it occupied for years before competition arrived in the form of Apple.”
Excuse me? Amazon is still the dominant position atop the eBook market. Why? Because it created the eBook market. The publishing industry did not want eBooks because it screwed with their dominance, so it sabotaged every attempt that came before Amazon’s — but Amazon was big enough, and had enough clout, to force the new market into existence.
But, on the other hand, did Apple actually collude to fix prices? The more I read about it, the more I have to say, “No, they did not.” Now, that’s not to say that the big publishing houses didn’t act to collude. I’m inclined to think that they did, and for that reason I would like to see this trial move forward and settle the question.
But here’s another quote that bothers me: While the claim that the publishers colluded to raise prices “sounds plausible on its face,” [the Senator] writes, it ignores the underlying dynamics of the e-book market and threatens to “wipe out the publishing industry as we know it.” [Quote from Fortune.CNN.com]
So this is to say that, through innovation, we’ve changed the market but … instead of allowing the market to change, and changing and adapting with it, we need to take drastic actions to prop up an outdated, superseded business model?
Is that called progress?
No. It’s called stupid.