The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld 2-1 the 2013 verdict that found Apple and major publishing companies conspired to fix e-book prices.
As noted by Fortune, Apple's argument that the Department of Justice was misguided to target Apple when Amazon was dominant didn't convince the majority:
That argument, however, appears to have carried little sway with Judge Livingston who argued that Apple and the publishers could not rationalize their behavior on the grounds they were challenging Amazon:
“Plainly, competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new ebook retailer at the expense of passing control over all ebook prices to a cartel of book publishers,” Livingston wrote.
There's no doubt that this is a complicated issue, fraught with many valid but opposing arguments. Ultimately though, I can't help but agree with the end result and this section was particularly persuasive to me, from page 98 of Judge Livingston's judgement (courtesy of The Wall Street Journal):
Because of the long‐term threat to competition, the Sherman Act does not authorize horizontal price conspiracies as a form of marketplace vigilantism to eliminate perceived “ruinous competition” or other “competitive evils.” Indeed, the attempt to justify a conspiracy to raise prices “on the basis of the potential threat that competition poses . . . is nothing less than a frontal assault on the basic policy of the Sherman Act.” And it is particularly ironic that the “terms” that Apple was able to insist upon by organizing a cartel of Publisher Defendants to move against Amazon — namely, the elimination of retail price competition — accomplished the precise opposite of what new entrants to concentrated markets are ordinarily supposed to provide. In short, Apple and the dissent err first in equating a symptom (a single‐retailer market) with a disease (a lack of competition), and then err again by prescribing the disease itself as the cure.
Apple could still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but it is not a certainty that the Supreme Court would agree to hear the case. In response to today's ruling an Apple spokesperson issued this statement to Fortune:
“Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and this ruling does nothing to change the facts. We are disappointed the Court does not recognize the innovation and choice the iBooks Store brought for consumers. While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps.”
Cook doesn’t subscribe to the idea that women just don’t want to be involved in tech — calling that argument a “cop-out.”
“I think it’s our fault — ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” he says. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”
Christina Warren interviewed Tim Cook about Apple's diversity efforts, women and app development, and gender/racial equality in tech. As Cook suggests, it sounds like women will be on stage at Apple's WWDC keynote today – a “finally” is appropriate in this case.
I asked Cook about the lack of women at WWDC keynotes. he smiled. “Look tomorrow,” he said. “Look tomorrow and let me know what you think.
Speaking of which, Jean MacDonald is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for App Camp For Girls 3.0. This is an important mission and you can show your support here.
For nearly a decade, iLife was the heart and soul of the Mac. The original Apple Stores were laid out into sections revolving around music and photography. Third-party digital cameras and camcorders graced official Apple product photography, and the Mac slowly became the go-to machine for creatives of all talent levels.
Writing at iMore, Stephen Hackett remembers Apple's Digital Hub strategy. Looking back at all this, it's amazing to recall how much stuff we used to have that's been replaced by a phone with a bunch of apps. I'm glad that I got to witness this change.
Until now, Ive’s job title has been Senior Vice President of Design. But I can reveal that he has just been promoted and is now Apple’s Chief Design Officer. It is therefore an especially exciting time for him.
Inside the fabled design studio (cloths over the long tables hiding the exciting new prototypes from prying eyes like mine) Jony has two people with him. They too have been promoted as part of Ive’s new role.
In a profile at The Telegraph, Stephen Fry reveals Jony Ive's new role at Apple. Richard Howarth and Alan Dye (both profiled by Wired and The New Yorker earlier this year in their Apple Watch coverage) will report to Jony Ive and become VPs of Industrial Design and Human Interface, respectively. According to an internal memo published by 9to5Mac, the change will be effective starting July 1.
Later in the profile, Stephen Fry asked Ive about his new role:
When I catch up with Ive alone, I ask him why he has seemingly relinquished the two departments that had been so successfully under his control. “Well, I’m still in charge of both,” he says, “I am called Chief Design Officer. Having Alan and Richard in place frees me up from some of the administrative and management work which isn’t … which isn’t …”
“Which isn’t what you were put on this planet to do?”
“Exactly. Those two are as good as it gets. Richard was lead on the iPhone from the start. He saw it all the way through from prototypes to the first model we released. Alan has a genius for human interface design. So much of the Apple Watch’s operating system came from him. With those two in place I can …”
Ive is currently overseeing the design of future Apple retail stores and Apple Campus 2 on top of his existing duties in the Industrial Design and Human Interface groups. It'll be interesting to see what this leadership change will mean for Ive's participation in new Apple products going forward and if the role of Marc Newson (who joined Apple last year) will be altered as well.
In a press release from earlier today, Apple announced two new environmental initiatives in China. The first is a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to increase the amount of responsibly managed forests in China, aiming to protect as much as 1 million acres of forestland.
“Forests, like energy, can be renewable resources,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We believe we can run on naturally renewable resources and ensure that we protect—and create—as much sustainable working forest as needed to produce the virgin paper in our product packaging. This is an important step toward that goal and our commitment to leave the world better than we found it.”
The second initiative is a project to build two 20-megawatt solar farms that will generate up to 80 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. In its press release, Apple also provided an update on their renewable energy progress, noting that 87 percent of Apple’s global operations today run on renewable energy.
“We’ve set an example by greening our data centers, retail stores and corporate offices, and we’re ready to start leading the way toward reducing carbon emissions from manufacturing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This won’t happen overnight—in fact it will take years—but it’s important work that has to happen, and Apple is in a unique position to take the initiative toward this ambitious goal. It is a responsibility we accept. We are excited to work with leaders in our supply chain who want to be on the cutting edge of China’s green transformation.”
Today's announcement is just the latest in an increasingly long list of large projects Apple has undertaken to generate renewable energy and be environmentally responsible. I'd be fascinated to see if anyone in the renewable energy industry has done some research on just how significant Apple's efforts have been, compared to other multinationals and governments.
Ken Segall succinctly describes how Apple approaches new product categories and why waiting is often a better option than rushing to market:
Fortunately, it all becomes clear in hindsight.
Now we know there was a ton of work going on at Apple during The Period Of Great Whining. Possibly more than at any time in Apple’s history. Now we have new iPhones, Apple Pay and Apple Watch.
To me, this just says that Apple is doing a very good job of being Apple. Its mission is to create products that people can fall in love with. There is not now, nor has there ever been, a timetable for such things.
Apple announced during a Wednesday night meetup at its Cupertino, California, headquarters that the company’s popular Siri application is powered by Apache Mesos.
We at Mesosphere are obviously thrilled about Apple’s public validation of the technology on which our Datacenter Operating System is based. If Apple trusts Mesos to underpin Siri — a complex application that handles Apple-only-knows-how-many voice queries per day from hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users — that says a lot about how mature Mesos is and how ready it is to make a big impact in companies of all stripes.
According to Apple's slides, today's Siri is the third generation of the company's voice-based assistant.
LinX Imaging is the latest in Apple acquisitions, as reported by MacRumors:
Apple has purchased Israeli camera technology company LinX Imaging for approximately $20 million, reports The Wall Street Journal. LinX specializes in creating multi-aperture camera equipment for mobile devices and it's possible that Apple will use the company's technology in upcoming iOS devices.
Reading through what LinX Imaging had developed, there's lots of interesting possibilities for the future of iPhone cameras.
The simple truth is that Apple thinks portable cameras can still aspire to higher degrees of quality and convenience, edging towards SLR-like photos without the complexity, cost, and additional hardware of SLR cameras. The iPhone's camera is one of the features that is improved every year, and it sounds like we're going to see notable breakthroughs over the next iPhone iterations.
An Apple Press release this morning announced that the company will be investing €1.7 billion (US$1.93 billion) to build and operate two new European data centers. The two data centers, one in County Galway, Ireland and the other in Denmark’s central Jutland, will both be powered by 100 percent renewable energy according to Apple. The two new European data centers are expected to be in operation in 2017 and will be used to power Apple's various online services including the iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri.
“We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”
In its press release, Apple focuses on how they have continued to support jobs in Europe, claiming that they support over 672,000 jobs in the region and paying out €6.6 billion to European app developers. The press release also makes particular and repeated reference to the fact that these new data centers will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, one of the key environmental benchmarks the company has been keen to demonstrate in recent years.
“We believe that innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it, and that the time for tackling climate change is now,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We’re excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources. Our commitment to environmental responsibility is good for the planet, good for our business and good for the European economy.”