David Balto, a former policy director for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has said that the case is important because it will have a knock on effect on the rest of e-commerce. Apple is going to trial alone after the five publishers, and potential Apple allies, agreed to eliminate prohibitions on wholesale discounts and to pay a collective $164 million to benefit consumers. As such it is going to be jolly hard for Apple to argue that it was entirely free of guilt. What is strange is that the DoJ is not even after dosh, but wants an order blocking Apple from engaging in similar conduct.
If Apple is found liable, it could still face damages in a separate trial by the state attorneys general and consumers pursuing class actions. Already a comment by the presiding judge Denise Cote at the final hearing before the trial, Apple may face an uphill battle. She has said that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books.
John Lopatka, a law professor at Pennsylvania State University told Reuters Apple may be calculating that future damages claims by states and class actions make it worth going to trial. The cunning plan might be that Apple may lose at the trial level, but we may well convince an appellate court the trial judge mischaracterised the evidence.