Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
United States v. Apple

United States v. Apple

Competition in America

Chris Sagers

ISBN 9780674972216

Publication date: 09/17/2019

Request exam copy

One of the most-followed antitrust cases of recent times—United States v. Apple—reveals an often-missed truth: what Americans most fear is competition itself.

In 2012 the Department of Justice accused Apple and five book publishers of conspiring to fix ebook prices. The evidence overwhelmingly showed an unadorned price-fixing conspiracy that cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet before, during, and after the trial millions of Americans sided with the defendants. Pundits on the left and right condemned the government for its decision to sue, decrying Amazon’s market share, railing against a new high-tech economy, and rallying to defend beloved authors and publishers. For many, Amazon was the one that should have been put on trial. But why? One fact went unrecognized and unreckoned with: in practice, Americans have long been ambivalent about competition.

Chris Sagers, a renowned antitrust expert, meticulously pulls apart the misunderstandings and exaggerations that industries as diverse as mom-and-pop grocers and producers of cast-iron sewer pipes have cited to justify colluding to forestall competition. In each of these cases, antitrust law, a time-honored vehicle to promote competition, is put on the defensive. Herein lies the real insight of United States v. Apple. If we desire competition as a policy, we must make peace with its sometimes rough consequences. As bruising as markets in their ordinary operation often seem, letting market forces play out has almost always benefited the consumer. United States v. Apple shows why supporting cases that protect price competition, even when doing so hurts some of us, is crucial if antitrust law is to protect and maintain markets.

Praise

  • There is, I think, great wisdom in Sagers’s decision to look at antitrust history and policy from the perspective of a particular antitrust case that has generated a lot of public discussion…Pulls some interesting and important threads from antitrust history…Not only brilliantly conceived but also well timed, coming at a moment of great uncertainty about the goals of antitrust law.

    —Don Allen Resnikoff, Washington Lawyer

Author

  • Chris Sagers is James A. Thomas Distinguished Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He is the author of numerous articles, coauthor of leading casebooks on anti-trust, and is a member of the American Law Institute, a Senior Fellow of the American Antitrust Institute, and a leadership member of the ABA Antitrust Section.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

Recommendations