'Ringleader' says Apple did not raise e-books prices
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Apple Inc executive at the center of an antitrust lawsuit by the U.S. government said on Thursday the company "didn't care" what price publishers set for e-books.
Eddy Cue said he was not surprised when publishers increased prices for new and best-selling titles after Apple entered the e-books market in 2010, but he disputed that Apple caused prices industry-wide to increase.
"I didn't raise prices," he testified in federal court.
Apple is the sole remaining defendant in a lawsuit in which it is accused of working with five major U.S. publishers to fix e-book prices and undo Amazon.com Inc's market control. The publishers all reached settlements with the U.S. government.
Cue, a 24-year veteran of Apple, was the primary negotiator with major U.S. publishers in December 2009 and January 2010 before Apple launched its iBookstore and, according to a Justice Department lawyer, the "chief ringleader" of the alleged conspiracy.
During Thursday's proceedings, Cue, 48, said he had felt "tremendous" pressure to get a deal done with the publishers quickly after former CEO Steve Jobs gave him approval in late 2009 to pursue an iBookstore for the then-under wraps iPad.
Jobs, who died in 2011, was "near the end of his life" as the January 2010 unveiling of the iPad neared, Cue said. Not getting a deal done would have meant debuting the iPad without the bookstore, he said later.
"I wanted to get it done in time for that as I wanted to get it done for him," Cue said. Continued...