Steve Jobs' Email to James Murdoch on E-Book Pricing Made Public

Posted May 16, 2013 at 2:58pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 5406 views

The Steve Jobs email to James Murdoch which figures prominently in the Department of Justice's pricing fixing case against Apple has been made public, reports AllThingsD.

The quote from the email which reads, “Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99” is supposedly clear evidence that Apple conspired with Murdoch and his HarperCollins publishing division to raise e-book prices.

Notably, it appears the Department of Justice is using the quote out of context.

Put in context, with the other dozen or so sentences in the message that contained it, that line seems a little less damaging. Certainly, it doesn’t quite imply that the two execs are about to embark on a “caper.”

Here's the larger quote from the email:

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Our proposal does set the upper limit for ebook retail pricing based on the hardcover price of each book. The reason we are doing this is that, with our experience selling a lot of content online, we simply don't think the ebook market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99. Heck, Amazon is selling these books at $9.99, and who knows, maybe they are right and we will fail even at $12.99. But we're willing to try at the prices we've proposed. We are not willing to try at higher prices because we are pretty sure we'll all fail.

As I see it, HC has the following choices:

1. Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99.
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You can see the full email below alongside more exhibits from the case.

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Dr. Pill - May 17, 2013 at 4:06am
Seems to me, Steve Jobs set an offer for things quite fair - I don't feel the letter paints Apple in bad light at all. I think the quote has been taken out of content and without reading the entire letter fully is an injustice move to Apple and the late great SJ.
MassiveWanker - May 21, 2013 at 3:00pm
I have to agree. I am actually pretty unbiased on this one (I'm not a SJ fanboy, nor am I a hater like the other people commenting here), but I don't see anything especially damning or egregious here. I think what people forget is that he was the head of a BUSINESS and the point of most businesses is to MAKE MONEY. So, from that perspective he did his job very well... considering Apple was the first "billion dollar business". I don't agree with some of the ways and practices they have become such, but objectively viewed (read: legitimate, relevant)... I'm sure any company would have been happy to have him in charge. "Successful" or "shrewd" business practices aren't always equivocal to "respected" or "agreeable". This is just (to me) a classic example of how people tend to hate on successful people. Forgive me for being ignorant to the source of the quote, but as it goes [paraphrased], "You know you're doing something important/groundbreaking if you have just as many opponents as you do proponents..." I'm quite sure I bastardized that beyond belief (accidental alliteration <- also an alliterative accident <- err, nevermind).
Gfgf - May 17, 2013 at 1:16am
Steve Jobs was the biggest cocksucker known. People just don't know it.
MassiveWanker - May 21, 2013 at 2:46pm
Really? You should write a book about it. Then sell it for $9.99 as an extra little kick to his largely respected legacy. That'll show him. Or not. Since he's dead. Seriously though, I recommend you at least provide one or two examples to back your opinion instead of just making such a thin, worthless (spam) comment. Without any shown reason(s) as to why you believe this to be true, your post is just called "trolling". (My posts aren't "trolling", they're "muckraking"!) I'm not saying you're wrong or right, because I never got the opportunity to meet the man to form such a strong personal opinion of him... so it's up to people like you who *do* know him so well to elucidate such insider information to the general public.
Q. - May 16, 2013 at 9:38pm
One of the myriad reasons for burning in iHell.
mark - May 16, 2013 at 4:38pm
Greedy ass steve jobs as you can see.
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