Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kindle News: US Judge sets June 3, 2013 trial date for DOJ's Apple & Big2 e-book lawsuit...Apple fined in Australia for misleading claims...Apple to pay Samsung damages in the Netherlands for patent issue...Amazon's expanded music service next month, w/ Europe included soonafter.

US District Judge Denise Cote sets June 3, 2013 for a bench trial for Apple and the remaining two e-book publishers in DOJ e-book pricing lawsuit.

The two e-book publishers are Macmillan and Penguin Group.  The other three publishers (HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group) settled the case with the U.S. Justice Department and are "on track to submit a settlement proposal to the judge by the end of the summer to resolve claims by a group of U.S. states" according to the Reuters report, based on statements by lawyers for the book companies and the states on Friday.

The Connecticut assistant Attorney General, Gary Becker, is "confident" they'll get "all 50 states and six territories and commonwealths to sign on" to the settlement.

More info on Apple's request to rush the lawsuit - first reported yesterday
The Arizona Daily Star's AP story yesterday included more detail.  Apple wanted to end evidence gathering by end of 2012 while the government lawyers argued, the AP reports, that "Government lawyers told a judge there is much to be learned about the scope and identity of individuals who participated in a conspiracy between publishers and Apple to set book prices."  From the AP story:
' They said they were trying to reveal "a long-running, detailed conspiracy that affected millions of U.S. consumers and likely involved multiple executives at each co-conspirator. Some of the acts in furtherance of the conspiracy occurred in Europe, where the defendants also pursued a similar course of conduct aimed at European consumers."

The lawyers said time was required to sort out what happened and "bring the full course of the defendants' conduct to light." '
Apple's rush to cut the time for gathering evidence is not too surprising then?  Apple's letter even stated that "It is also a reality that the mere existence of litigation of this type creates marketplace uncertainties, which impact competitive conditions and the public interest."

  But that doesn't keep them from filing lawsuits against several competing companies all over the world!

Wall St. Cheat Sheet's Emily Knapp suspects that a March trial date could "cast a dark cloud" at a bad time, as the iPad has been, she says, updated each March since its introduction in 2010.

Apple was fined $2.3 million in Australia for misleading claims
  Apple's being oddly careless. They were also fined $2.3 million in Australia this week for misleading claims of 4G capabilities in the iPad, implying that the iPad 3 could connect to Australia's fourth generation (4G) cellular networks when it can't.

  Justice Mordy Bromberg said "The conduct concerned was deliberate and very serious...It exposed a significant proportion of Australian consumers of tablet devices to a misleading representation."

  Apple also had to pay court costs in addition to the $2.3 million (Australian dollars, almost exactly the same as $US).

  TechRadar's Joe Svetlik adds that "Apple had already apologised to any Australian customers it misled, and offered refunds for anyone who bought an iPad expecting speeds it couldn't deliver.

  It also changed its advertising in the UK, changing the description of the "Wi-Fi + 4G" model to "Wi-Fi + Cellular."

Apple must pay Samsung damages in the Netherlands
  Ironically, although Apple has been filing lawsuits in various countries to stop the distribution of some of Samsung's most popular recent devices (two of which I own), due to patent issues (such as devices being rectangular, flat-screened, and with rounded edges on the bevel!), Samsung has been counterfiling, and BBC News reports that Apple was ordered by a court in the Netherlands Thursday to pay damages to Samsung Electronics because Apple had "infringed a patent held by Samsung relating to the way phones and tablet PCs connect to the internet."

  TheNextWeb (TNW) reports that Samsung has already issued a statement to Dutch media about recovering "adequate damages" and they're "expected to seek compensation totalling in the millions."
  Samsung lost two of the patent lawsuits and, on its own side, "will have to pay €800,000 in court costs."

Apple devices use Samsung components rather heavily, which complicates the situation.
  Apple's official statement repeated that Samsung is "blatantly" copying Apple's products.  Note that they've listed copying in connection with, as I mentioned, a rectangular device with a screen that is flat and a bezel that has rounded corners.

  I'm glad that violin and piano makers don't carry on like this.

  When Apple uses, without licensing and paying for it,  a technically complex 3G networking method patented by Samsung, while suing competitors on 'look and feel' of a tablet as described above (and that is actually real, believe it or not, starting April 2011), Apple doesn't come off well, and it just seems to be more of the same when it tells the DOJ that with higher agreed-upon (fixed) e-book pricing, it was saving the world from Amazon's monopoly power and had fueled demand for e-books by forcing Amazon and rivals, including B&N, to compete more aggressively, including by upgrading e-reader technology.

  Judge Cote is a no-nonsense judge though.  I would not even try the "Fool me once" thing with her, from what I see in her recent rulings.

Computerworld's Loek Essers has good detail on what is involved in the patent issues in these cases.

The Wall Street Journal (Jung Ah-Lee and Robert Van den Oever, reporters) has a bit more on how the damages would be calculated in the Samsung case in the Netherlands:
' ... for infringing a technical communications patent in some of its mobile devices, including the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and iPad 1 and 2.

Damages will be calculated within the next two months, based on the number of patent-breaching products sold by Apple in the Netherlands over the time period of the infringement—deemed by the court to be from Aug. 4, 2010. The court rejected Samsung's claims for damages for a further three technical patents. '

Although a judge in the US ordered, last month, the chief executives of both firms
to try to settle their legal differences, the BBC report says that
' But the talks did not lead to any agreement and Apple has since sought a ban on sales of one of Samsung's tablet computers and the latest range of its Galaxy smartphones. '

That's certainly one way to try to 'win' against a strong competitor.

Amazon's Agreements with record companies
Wall St. Cheat Sheet's Emily Knapp has an article today on Amazon's plans to "start" a music service next month "that lets users store songs on a remote server and access them online" (which they've had for a good while).
   However, Amazon has reached agreements with the record company Big4 -- Universal Music Group, Sony, EMI Group Ltd., and Warner Music Group.  An expanded music service may launch "in the first week of July, with Europe availability shortly after.  Most of what Knapp describes, as far as capability, is already offered by Amazon (since March 2011), including the recently added Amazon Cloud Player app providing this on iPhone and iPod touch devices.  It'll be interesting to see what added features we'll have with the official agreements they've signed for access to more music.

It's curious that all the features that she describes as coming (free storage, an entire-collection-stored option for a fee, playing from a remote server) have been with us for over 1-1/4 years.
  From what I can see, this will mean easier access to quite a bit more music content and probably mp3 streaming overseas soon.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links
Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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