Walter Isaacson, the author of a bestselling book about the late Apple founder, will not have to share his notes or testify in a case about alleged price-fixing between Apple and book publishers.
Class action lawyers had earlier demanded that Isaacson provide evidence, based on his interviews with Steve Jobs, about why Jobs asked publishers to sell books on Apple’s iPad device. Isaacson refused to hand over his notes and invoked a New York law that allows journalists to shield their sources in many situations.
The lawyers, who want Apple to pay for allegedly fixing book prices, had subpoenaed Isaacson and said the reporters’ shield did not apply. Last week, however, court documents show the parties agreed to drop Isaacson from the case.
The Isaacson dispute comes at a time when Apple’s antitrust showdown with the Department of Justice and class action lawyers is coming to a head. While the five publishers who were also named as defendants decided to settle, Apple is rejecting the accusations that it acted as the hub for an illegal conspiracy to raise book prices and thwart Amazon. Meanwhile, Amazon executives are poised to testify against Apple.
Even though the Isaacson biography is no longer part of the case, a court transcript shows Steve Jobs will remain a central figure. In response to a question about who decided to sign contracts with book publishers, Apple executive Keith Moerer said, “Ultimately, I would say it was — Steve. But working closely with — with Eddy, Mr. Cue.”
Meanwhile, other recently filed court documents identify one recipient of a highly publicized Jobs email about Amazon and pricing — the recipient was James Murdoch, a senior executive at News Corp, parent company of HarperCollins. The other recipient(s) are still redacted. You can see the email below: