New Court Filings on Apple CEO Tim Cook and the DOJ’s E-Books Suit

2013 03 12 tim cook

UPDATE: March 13: Judge Cote ruled today that Cook must testify, Reuters reports.

I have just reviewed some public court documents that provide more details on Apple CEO Tim Cook and the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against the company.

As you may have read in the news, the Department of Justice alleged in a suit filed in April 2012 that Apple and several book publishers illegally worked together to raise e-book prices in an effort to combat Amazon.com, which had gained dominance over the e-book market. All of the publishers have settled. The Cupertino, California-based company is the sole remaining defendant.

As Bloomberg reported on March 8 (Friday), recent court filings show that the government wants Apple CEO Tim Cook to testify in the case.

The newest court filings, posted today, provide additional insight into the case the DOJ is making to depose Cook, and the reasons that Apple’s lawyers are using to try to shield him from testifying.

In a March 6 letter to U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote, filed today, the DOJ argued that “While subsequent discovery only has confirmed the need for Mr. Cook’s deposition, Apple continues to refuse to make Mr. Cook available.”

The government says it has offered various “accommodations in order to minimize any burden on Mr. Cook,” such as “limiting the length of the deposition and providing him a list of examination topics in advance — all of which have been rejected.”

The DOJ letter says that as an “executive team member and confidant” of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Cook “is likely to have highly relevant information regarding Apple’s decision to enter the e-books market and its related strategies that are at issue in this case.”

The government says Cook received updates on Apple’s “efforts to move the entire e-books industry to an agency model, and even received boastful e-mails from Mr. Jobs that Apple had ‘helped stir things up in the publishing world.” The government adds that Cook and Jobs would likely have had private discussions about e-books that “cannot be discovered other than through Mr. Cook’s deposition.”

The DOJ says that Apple has countered that any discussions the two might have had would not be relevant because Jobs’s “statements themselves are not relevant to this action.”

Next, In an emailed letter dated March 11 (yesterday) to Judge Cote, a New York-based attorney writing “on behalf of Apple” opposed the DOJ’s request to depose Cook, cross-moving for a protective order.

The attorney cites a legal standard from past cases that “disfavor[s] apex executive depositions” where “the executive has no unique personal knowledge of relevant facts…lower-level executives can provide the same information…” and “the party seeking discovery has not exhausted alternative information sources…”

The letter references a declaration from Cook stating that he “has no unique knowledge about Apple’s decision to enter the e-books market and recalls no relevant ‘private conversations’ with Mr. Jobs.”

The letter continues: “The complaint does not reference Mr. Cook. None of the 29 witnesses deposed to date testified that Mr. Cook played any role in relevant events. And no publisher witness even mentioned Mr. Cook at his or her deposition.”

The letter goes on to argue that Cook had only a “tangental role as an outsider to the issues in dispute in this case.” The letter also notes that in all, 11 Apple executives will be deposed, and that “on March 12 and 13, the government will depose Eddy Cue, the senior Apple executive who reported directly to and communicated regularly with Mr. Jobs about the day-to-day development of the iBookstore.”

It continues, “Two days later, it will depose a member of Mr. Jobs’ executive team, former mobile software SVP Scott Forstall. And, as the court will recall, the government deposed Apple’s chief marketing offer Phil Schiller (over Apple’s objection) last December…”

“The government should not be permitted to depose Apple’s current CEO on a fishing expedition for what would be, at best, cumulative testimony.”

Note: I have bolded the names above for easier reading.

(Image: “Apple CEO Tim Cook,” via Wikimedia Commons.)

NY Times: Journalists who cover Myanmar may have had their email hacked

The New York Times reports today:

Several journalists who cover Myanmar said Sunday that they had received warnings from Google that their e-mail accounts might have been hacked by “state-sponsored attackers.”

The warnings began appearing last week, said the journalists, who included employees of Eleven Media, one Myanmar’s leading news organizations; Bertil Lintner, a Thailand-based author and expert on Myanmar’s ethnic groups; and a Burmese correspondent for The Associated Press.

Worth a read.

Twitter accounts for following snowstorm Nemo as it approaches NYC

A big snowstorm, Nemo*, is now making landfall in the Northeast.

I just Tweeted some NYC-specific Twitter accounts worth following, and thought I’d share them here as well:

*Storm nomenclature details are here.

Some of My Favorite Email Newsletters

2013 01 12 email

Last fall I began using email newsletters* to keep abreast of the day’s biggest business and economics stories.

Since I’ve been spending a lot of time in class, mostly away from news sites, I’ve come to appreciate these daily email compilations. Here are a few I like:

  • Reuters Counterparties. This “curated snapshot of the best finance news and commentary” is a stand-alone Reuters Web site edited by Felix Salmon and Ryan McCarthy. You can sign up for the daily newsletter by selecting Counterparties here.
  • Quartz, the new-ish business news site, has a good roundup called the Quartz Daily Brief. (The site hasn’t been loading properly for me for a few days, but you should be able to find the newsletter via the home page.)
  • The Marketplace Newsletter includes links to the well known radio show‘s most most-viewed articles, provides a mid-day update on the markets, and has links to its various episodes.
  • The Bloomberg Most Popular daily email contains just that — the site’s most popular stories of the day. You can sign up here.

In addition, I like two newsletters that don’t focus exclusively on business journalism, but that are generally informative:

*Yes, email newsletters! Remember those? Good ol’ email: Still the Web’s killer app?

(Image via Wikipedia.)

There’s No E-Book Version of Nicholas Negroponte’s ‘Being Digital’?

Being digital no ebook

More later on this topic, perhaps, but I wanted to post this for now.

Is there truly no e-book version of Nicholas Negroponte’s 1995 book Being Digital?

What’s wrong with this picture?

The text I’ve circled in the image above is Amazon’s standard “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle.”*

Is this situation ironic? (It would seem so. It depends on your perspective on technology and traditional media, I suppose.)

Is it telling? (Perhaps.)

*My initial searching reveals there isn’t an e-book version available elsewhere, via any other retailers.

My Tweets from Eric Schmidt’s Talk with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher


Tweets from Eric Schmidt’s Talk with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher

Storified by Newley Purnell · Wed, Oct 10 2012 19:37:54

Another evening, another interesting event.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, chatted with the Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the 92nd Street Y here in New York tonight.

Their conversation touched on the so-called “Gang of Four” (Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook), the importance of the mobile sector, technology in education, patent wars, quality journalism,  and — yes — PSY.

Here are my Tweets, in reverse chronological order.

To sum up, Schmidt @ #92YDigital: Gang of Four persists. Huge potential in mobility. Innovation key. "Patent wars are death."Newley Purnell
Schmidt says future biz might involve celebrity driven news brands. In online world, people care what celebs think. #92YDigitalNewley Purnell
Schmidt: promise in digital-1st approach like @ Politico and HuffPo. And established brands like WSJ and NYT will survive. #92YDigitalNewley Purnell
Summing up: Schmidt at @ #92YDigital: Ailing newspapers means less investigative journalism. That’s bad…Newley Purnell
@EricSchmidt says @HuffingtonPost and @Politico are innovative news models of journalism’s future. #92YDigitalKhadeeja Safdar
Talk over. Will share a few final thoughts from Eric Schmidt on quality journalism…Newley Purnell
Asked if Google would buy Twitter: Schmidt says can’t comment on M&A. But bullish on Twitter. It’s “place where news breaks fast.”Newley Purnell
Schmidt: Next big thing: more mobility. Innovation possible w/ devices is incredible. Also: big data. Getting closer to true AI.Newley Purnell
Schmidt: we don’t talk about future products and services specifically but “we have a lot of stuff coming.”Newley Purnell
Schmidt on self-driven car: better to think of as autopilot. Will have button to disconnect. Doesn’t say when thinks cars’ll be mainstream.Newley Purnell
Schmidt on tech in ed: massive online courses are just version 1. Very little innovation and competition in K-12. Hopes can change.Newley Purnell
Schmidt on @Google cars: “it’s an error that we drive cars. A 100 year old error.” Likely scenario: car companies use some features.Newley Purnell
.@ericschmidt says @Google’s goal is to be at the center of the information revolution. #92YDigitalSree Sreenivasan
Schmidt on PSY and Gangnam Style: he is “truly expression of a new form of celebrity.”Newley Purnell
Schmidt: “Patent wars are death.” Bad for innovation. And annoying.Newley Purnell
Schmidt: survey shows there’s 4x as many Android phones as iPhones. Mobile is where it’s at. Bigger than PC industry and growing.Newley Purnell
Schmidt: “Apple should have kept with our maps…what Apple has learned is maps are really hard.”Newley Purnell
Swisher: w/ Facebook’s stock struggles, is it Gang of 3.5 now? Schmidt: No, 4. FB has 1 billion users. You can make money off that.Newley Purnell
From 8 p.m. EST I’ll be sharing tidbits from 92nd St. Y talk w/ Google exec. chairman Eric Schmidt, @waltmossberg, & @karaswisherNewley Purnell

Suspended Sentence for Chiranuch “Jiew” Premchaiporn

The AP says:

A Thai court sentenced a local webmaster Wednesday to an eight-month suspended sentence for failing to act quickly enough to remove Internet posts deemed insulting to country’s royalty.

The ruling showed leniency against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who faced up to 20 years in prison for 10 comments posted on her Prachatai website, but still sends the message that Internet content in Thailand must be self-censored.

Elsewhere, @Saksith has more details in his live-blog of the verdict.

UPDATE: The New York Times has a story headlined “Google and Rights Groups Condemn Thai Court’s Conviction of a Webmaster.” It says:

Google and human rights groups reacted strongly on Wednesday to a Thai court’s decision to convict the webmaster of an Internet message board for comments posted by users that insulted the Thai royal family.

Courts in Thailand have with increasing frequency jailed people convicted of lèse-majesté, as royal insults are known. But the verdict on Wednesday was different: Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term, was not the author of the offending comments. She managed the Web site that hosted them.

Taj Meadows, a spokesman for Google, said in an e-mailed statement that the verdict was “a serious threat to the future of the Internet in Thailand.

“Telephone companies are not penalized for things people say on the phone and responsible Web site owners should not be punished for comments users post on their sites — but Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act is being used to do just that,” Mr. Meadows said.

The Computer Crimes Act is controversial in Thailand partly because it was enacted by an unelected government installed after the military coup in 2006. The act also has a far-reaching extraterritorial feature built in: an American citizen was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last year for uploading from his computer in the United States a translation of a book banned in Thailand. He was arrested during a visit to Thailand.

There’s also an updated AP story. And coverage from VOA, Reuters, and more.

Self-Promotion: New WSJ Southeast Asia Real Time Story about Facebook’s Popularity in Bangkok

The story is here, and begins:

There are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other world city. That is the somewhat surprising finding of a global ranking of the social networking behemoth’s users based on their metropolitan areas.

Bangkok has some 8.68 million Facebook users, followed by Jakarta (7.43 million) and Istanbul (7.07 million), according to a list published by the well-known international social media analytics company Socialbakers.

Please give the piece a read and — you knew this was coming — consider “liking” it on Facebook.