Second Bite: Can Apple clear its name in the ebooks drama?

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Fortune

When Apple goes before a federal appeals court on Dec. 15, trying to overturn the ebooks price-fixing judgment the Justice Department won against it in July 2013, there will be an elephant in the room.

That would be Amazon, the much admired and greatly feared ­discounter, which is not a party in the case. Yet the unposed question hovering over the proceedings will be: Did the regulators target the right bully?

The case stems from events that occurred five years ago, when Apple was preparing to launch its first iPad. Apple’s negotiator extraordinaire, Eddy Cue, signed up five of the then six major publishing houses to start selling ebooks through what it would call the iBooks Store.

Apple [fortune-stock symbol=”AAPL”] was breaking into a market then dominated by Amazon, which had an 80% to 90% market share—monopoly power in almost anyone’s book. The iPad’s new color touchpad e-reader would compete…

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