Apple has had an eventful week, defending itself from price-fixing accusations in a federal court in New York while making major product announcements at its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco.
Prosecutors allege that Apple and major publishers colluded to raise the prices of e-books:
To provide evidence of that collusion, federal prosecutors noted the dozens of e-mail exchanges and records of more than 100 phone calls and handwritten notes sent between [Eddy] Cue, other Apple executives and the publishers. ¶ In response, Cue admitted that he simultaneously negotiated deals with five major publishers — Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hatchette and Macmillan. He even shared with publishers the progress of negotiations with rivals in general terms. ¶ But he stressed that he was solely focused on winning contracts for Apple to enter the digital books market, not to unfairly hamper rivals such as Amazon. ¶ “I didn’t raise prices,” Cue said.
For more on Cue and Apple’s iBooks store, continue reading here. Meanwhile, the company discussed upgrades to several lines of products and announced a new online music service at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference:
Analysts have been expecting Apple to build on the success of its iTunes music service with a streaming service for years. In the meantime, competitors moved in to scoop up listeners. Google last month announced a subscription music service, Google Play Music All Access. ¶ The move allows Apple to protect its position in the U.S. digital music market, industry experts said. It currently has about 63 percent of the music download market, according to NPD Group. . . Using the firm’s Music app, users will be able to create digital radio stations based on their favorite artists or songs. Listeners can then tweak the stations by indicating which songs they like and which they don’t. Users can also buy songs with one click, see what music is trending on Twitter and share songs with friends.
The app has its limitations. It’s free to download but only works for those who subscribe to Microsoft’s Office 365 service, which costs $10 per month or $100 per year. It isn’t meant for the iPad, whose larger screen would make it easier to work with documents. And it only works with the three core programs of Office: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. ¶ But it is Office. And it’s on the iPhone. That counts for a lot.
For past coverage of the developers’ conference, continue reading here.