US blames Apple for 2010 e-book price hike

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. government lawyer opened a civil trial by portraying Apple Inc. as a corporate bully that swaggered into the market for electronic books in 2010, forcing an end to price competition and costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Justice Department attorney, Lawrence Buterman, said Monday a dramatic price increase in e-books was “no accident or unforeseen outcome” but the result of a deliberate plan by Apple and five book publishers to eliminate Seattle-based’s $9.99 bargain price for popular e-books.

He asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who is overseeing a trial expected to last several weeks, to find that the computer company had violated anti-trust laws.

Apple lawyer Orin Snyder sharply disputed the government’s claims, saying the company had been waiting eagerly for its chance to show it had enhanced competition and improved the e-book industry.

“Apple is going to trial because it did nothing wrong,” he said. “Apple did not conspire with any publisher individually, collectively or otherwise to raise industry prices.”

He called the government’s case bizarre, saying: “Even our government is fallible, and sometimes the government just gets it wrong.”

Buterman said the scheme to boost prices to $12.99 and $14.99 was encouraged by Steve Jobs, the late founder of the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer giant. The lawyer said he would display emails and other correspondence that showed Jobs was active in the company’s efforts to control e-book prices as Apple was preparing to launch the iPad.

The nonjury trial results from a lawsuit last year that accused the company of seeking to enter the market for e-books in 2010 in a way that would guarantee it 30 percent profits. A separate court proceeding could be conducted to quantify harm to consumers.

“Apple’s conduct cannot be excused,” Buterman said. “Consumers in this country paid hundreds of millions of dollars more for e-books than they would have.”

But Snyder said a ruling against Apple would mark the first time in anti-trust law history in which a new entrant in a market was condemned when its presence benefited consumers.

He said Apple entered an “e-book market that was broken, lacked innovation, lacked competition and was heading nowhere good.”

He said publishers fought a pricing arrangement that the government said would guarantee Apple 30 percent profits, so it defies logic to insist there was collusion.

“The government is asking your honor to proceed on a perilous path,” Snyder said.

The trial’s first witness, Kevin Saul, testified that Apple knew publishers were interested in charging higher prices for e-books when it entered the market. He said Apple arranged a different pricing model with publishers than had because Apple realized it would lose money otherwise.

He said Apple was indifferent to how its competitors dealt with publishers.

“We were focused solely on opening an e-books store for Apple,” Saul said.

Five publishers named in the lawsuit have settled. The judge had urged Apple to do the same, though she assured Apple a fair trial Monday, saying: “The deck is not stacked against Apple unless the evidence stacks the deck against Apple.”

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Silicon Valley at front line of global cyber war

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping and American counterpart Barack Obama will talk cyber-security this week in California, but experts say the state’s Silicon Valley and its signature high-tech firms should provide the front lines in the increasingly aggressive fight against overseas hackers.

With China seeking to grow its economy and expand its technology base, companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Twitter are inviting targets. In fact, all have been attacked and all point the finger at China, which has denied any role.

The U.S. government has stepped up efforts to thwart cyber-attacks, but those efforts are mainly focused at protecting its own secrets, especially regarding military operations and technologies.

Paul Rosenzweig, a former Department of Homeland Security official whose Red Branch Consulting provides national security advice, said the responsibility for preventing attacks in the private sector lies with the U.S. innovators who created the technology that’s being hacked in the first place.

“To some degree, they were getting a pass,” he said. “If a car manufacturer made a car that was routinely able to be stolen, they’d be sued. If software is made with gaps that are a liability, they bear some responsibility, and in recent years there’s been a sea change in high tech firms accepting that responsibility.”

Big firms like Google employ thousands of security experts who can spot a potential attack on just a few individuals and quickly disseminate protection for everyone using their products. Google routinely detects unsafe websites that spread malicious software or trick people into revealing personal information, posting warnings in front of users and contacting webmasters who may have been hacked.

But Chinese hackers have managed to hit even Google, and in a book released this spring, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said China is the world’s “most sophisticated and prolific hacker.”

Cybersecurity is high on the agenda for the meeting between Obama and Xi on Friday and Saturday in Southern California’s Rancho Mirage. A recent government report found nearly 40 Pentagon weapons programs and almost 30 other defense technologies were compromised by cyber intrusions from China. Earlier this year, cybersecurity firm Mandiant linked a secret Chinese military unit to years of cyber-attacks against U.S. companies.

Mandiant’s chief security officer, Richard Bejtlich, said his firm tracks more than 20 potentially threating groups of hackers in China, some with links to the government and military.

China’s government denies any involvement, with Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng telling reporters Sunday that the U.S. claims “underestimate the intelligence of the Chinese people.”

Frustration is growing, however, as the attacks continue. Although none have come out publically, analysts say some U.S. companies even are considering cyber-attacks of their own as retaliation, even though it’s illegal. Retaliatory hacking was a hot topic at the 2013 RSA Conference on tech security in March, where attorneys and sitting judges even held a mock trial over an imaginary firm that struck back.

And on May 20, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, headed by former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, recommended that Congress and the Obama administration reconsider the laws banning retaliation.

“If counterattacks against hackers were legal, there are many techniques that companies could employ that would cause severe damage to the capability of those conducting IP theft,” they wrote.

Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer at security firm BeyondTrust in San Diego, warns against private firms going on the offensive.

“There are a lot of people lobbying to ‘hack back’ but I think that is a disastrous idea,” said Maiffrett, who was a hacker of government sites before discovering the first Microsoft computer worm, “CodeRed.”

“Most of corporate America is failing to secure themselves, let alone become competent hackers to hack back against someone like a China.”

Tim Junio, who studies cyber-attacks at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, doesn’t expect much to change because of the Xi-Obama talks.

“China benefits too much by stealing intellectual property from the U.S., so it’s really hard to imagine anyone convincing them to slow down,” he said.

Indeed, the payoff for successfully stealing critical information can be enormous. For example, if a company spends many millions of dollars developing expensive intellectual property, such as a pharmaceutical firm investing in a new drug, it’s very cost-effective for a Chinese firm or government entity to dedicate a small team of hackers to gain access to that company’s networks.

A patient approach of sending emails for months, hoping an employee eventually clicks on a link or opens an attachment that they shouldn’t, usually works. It’s a probabilities game, and the offense has the advantage, especially when targeting a company with thousands of employees. Sooner or later, someone will make a mistake.

Hackers then sell the stolen intellectual property to competing companies, which can try to replicate the product and sell counterfeits at a cut rate. For a developing country like China, this is a great way to stimulate domestic economic growth.

Junio suspects that China’s political leaders may not even be aware of the extent of hacking by their own cyber teams, because corrupt government officials may also be using them for personal gain.

James Barnett, former chief of public safety and homeland security for the Federal Communications Commission, said the government’s role in fighting Chinese hackers should be to offer high-tech firms tax deductions, credits or liability limits.

“The private sector’s role is to continue to innovate, something it can do much better than the government, and something that Silicon Valley does better than just about anywhere in the world,” he said.


Follow Martha Mendoza on Twitter at

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U.S., Chinese manufacturing shrink, stoking growth fears

By Steven C. Johnson and Jonathan Cable

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Manufacturers in the United States, China and Europe struggled last month as demand fell, suggesting an ailing world economy that still needs a steady diet of central bank support.

Output at U.S. factories declined in May for the first time in six months, the Institute for Supply Management reported, while China’s massive manufacturing sector shrank for the first time in seven months, adding to concerns that the world’s two largest economies were losing momentum in the second quarter.

Euro zone manufacturing contracted again in May, its 22nd straight month of decline, though the depth of the downturn eased for the first time in four months.

In the United States, the data bolstered the view that the economy was undergoing yet another spring swoon after expanding at a 2.4 percent rate in the first three months of the year.

That makes it unlikely the Federal Reserve would soon start to scale back the $85 billion in bonds it is buying each month. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in May those purchases could be reduced at one of the central bank’s “next few meetings.”

“While the data for now constrains the thoughts of tapering (bond purchases), it is weak enough that it will also raise broader questions on global growth,” said Alan Ruskin, global head of G10 FX strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.

U.S. data last week showed consumer spending fell in April for the first time in almost a year and inflation retreated further from the Fed’s 2 percent target.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams on Monday became the second central bank policymaker in recent days to warn that falling inflation would make it harder for the Fed to ease up on asset purchases.

“There are a lot of questions right now. Things are soft in Asia and Europe and the market is looking at higher yields and government spending cuts that are likely to hit the U.S.,” said William Larkin, a portfolio manager at Cabot Money Management. “My guess is it’s too early for the Fed to ease off.”

A separate report from financial data firm Markit showed the U.S. factory sector continued to expand in May but at a sluggish pace, suggesting it would likely be a drag on second-quarter growth.


In China, the HSBC China PMI showed total new orders and new export orders fell in May, highlighting weakness in both domestic and overseas demand. The index slipped to 49.2 last month, its worst performance since October.

“The global economy remains weak… There’s nothing in the system at the moment, certainly in China, that suggests there is a big pick-up in store just around the corner,” said Victoria Clarke at Investec.

The HSBC PMI followed a similar government survey released on Saturday that showed a slight uptick but also pointed to falling orders from important export markets.

“We think China’s economic growth will probably continue to slide,” said Zhiwei Zhang, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong.

New export orders also fell in Taiwan, a key producer in the global technology supply chain, while in South Korea, home to big brand names such as Samsung and Hyundai, new export orders growth eased to the weakest pace since January.

“A number of respondents blamed the reduction in demand on a general slowdown in global activity,” HSBC said.

Growth in Indian factories was close to stalling, with the HSBC PMI slipping to its lowest reading since March 2009, although the index has stayed above the 50 mark separating expansion from contraction for over four years.


Markit’s euro zone PMI rose to 48.3 from April’s 46.7. That still reflected contraction but was the highest reading since February of 2012.

Surveys from Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and France showed activity contracted in May but at a slower pace than in the previous month. The story was similar in Spain and Italy.

With the euro zone enduring its longest recession, the European Central Bank has come under growing pressure to take more action to help bring a quicker end to the downturn.

ECB President Mario Draghi has said the central bank is ready to cut interest rates again if the bloc’s economy deteriorates further, but a Reuters poll taken last week did not forecast any more policy easing.

In contrast to the weakness elsewhere, British manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in more than a year, a possible sign of more broad-based recovery in the UK economy.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Standing and Kevin Yao in BEIJING, Yati Himatsingka in BANGALORE, Faith Hung in TAIPEI, Se Young Lee in SEOUL and Christina Fincher in LONDON; Editing by Dan Grebler) Read story

Photo Release — Tandy Leather Factory Announces the Opening of Its Flagship Store

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Tandy Leather Factory, Inc. (TLF) is pleased to announce the grand opening of its new flagship store at its corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. As part of its on-going expansion and growth strategy, the company’s new store, located at 1900 SE Loop 820, will be the largest in its store chain at 22,000 square feet. Grand opening festivities will be held on June 7-8, 2013.

A photo accompanying this release is available at

Jon Thompson, CEO and President, commented, “We are very proud of this new store with its unique layout and sophisticated technology. It houses a state-of-the-art classroom where we can host leathercraft classes and demonstrations by the industry’s greatest artists. The 15,000 square foot showroom gives us the ability to display the leather and accessories in a visually-appealing manner that we believe our customers will thoroughly enjoy. The feedback so far has exceeded our expectations.”

Tandy Leather Factory, Inc., (, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a specialty retailer and wholesale distributor of a broad product line including leather, leatherworking tools, buckles and adornments for belts, leather dyes and finishes, saddle and tack hardware, and do-it-yourself kits. The Company distributes its products through its 29 Leather Factory stores, located in 19 states and 3 Canadian provinces, 78 Tandy Leather retail stores, located in 37 states and 6 Canadian provinces, and three combination wholesale/retail stores located in the United Kingdom, Australia and Spain. Its common stock trades on the Nasdaq with the symbol “TLF”. To be included on Tandy Leather Factory’s email distribution list, go to

This news release may contain statements regarding future events, occurrences, circumstances, activities, performance, outcomes and results that are considered “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results and events may differ from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: changes in general economic conditions, negative trends in general consumer-spending levels, failure to realize the anticipated benefits of opening retail stores; availability of hides and leathers and resultant price fluctuations; change in customer preferences for our product, and other factors disclosed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof, and except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

Shannon L. Greene, Tandy Leather Factory, Inc.
(817) 872-3200 or
Mark Gilbert, Magellan Fin, LLC
(317) 867-2839 or

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Samsung extends Galaxy Tab 3 line-up with 8-inch and 10.1-inch models

Samsung Electronics has extended its Galaxy Tab 3 line-up with 8-inch and 10.1-inch models with dual-core processors and extensive support for LTE networks.

The two new products will be offered alongside the previously announced 7-inch version of the Tab 3 and will start shipping this month around the world, according to Samsung. The 8-inch screen size is a new addition to the Galaxy Tab family, although Samsung has offered a 7.7-inch model in the past. The 10.1-inch version, on the other hand, is an incremental upgrade over the existing Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) tablet.

The Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch screen has a 1280 x 800 pixels and is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. There is a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front. The integrated storage is 16GB or 32GB — of which approximately 11.26GB and 26.16GB are available to users — and the tablet has 1.5GB of RAM.

The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch screen has the same resolution as its smaller 8-inch sibling and the available integrated storage is the same, but the available RAM is 1GB. The dual-core processor is slightly faster at 1.6GHz, and it has a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front.

That compares to the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) which is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor. It too has a 10.1-inch screen with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution.

The new models both run Android 4.2. Other similarities include a microSD card slot to expand the available storage capacity and support for six LTE bands. They are 800, 850, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600MHz, which means the tablets can access networks across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

There will be Wi-Fi versions available for users that don’t want to attach their tablets to cellular networks.

Samsung didn’t say whether it will release versions that support the 700MHz LTE band more widely used in the U.S.The company didn’t say what the new tablets will cost, but since they are scheduled to start shipping in the “beginning of June,” would-be buyers will soon find out.

The Samsung tablets weren’t the only ones announced on Monday. Asustek Computer introduced the Memo Pad FHD7, which has a 7-inch screen and will retail for just US$129.

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Energy Revolution Will Create 22 Million Jobs, Experts Say

CHICAGO, Ill., June 3, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via PRWEB – Millions of Americans are still searching for work, but a new source of jobs is just over the horizon — or, literally, under our feet. According to the new book Ride the Wave, a major revolution in American energy will boost the economy and create 21.8 million jobs.

This news couldn’t come at a better time for the 1 in every 13 Americans who is struggling to find a job. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 11.7 million Americans are unemployed. That doesn’t count the 10 million “underemployed” people who have one or more part-time jobs but want full-time employment.

Even as the economy shows signs of strength, most companies aren’t hiring. During the recession, businesses figured out how to use fewer employees and new technologies to get more work done with smaller payrolls. The result is what economists call a “jobless recovery” — a rare situation in which the economy gets better, but jobs remain scarce.

The only solution will be a new technology that creates new jobs — and, fortunately, that is exactly what will happen, according to the expert economic forecasters behind Ride the Wave.

Harvard-trained economic strategist Fred Rogers says, “Today’s economic pessimism is rooted in a myopic misunderstanding of technology, business, and history. Every time things get bad, as they did in the 1930s, the ’70s, or the current decade, the conventional wisdom jumps to the conclusion that ‘we’ve entered a permanent era of decline.’ But that’s never been true, and it’s not true today.”

According to Rogers and his colleague Richard Lalich, “The biggest story of our time is the current North American Energy Revolution.” By tapping North America’s vast reserves of shale gas and other resources clearly explained in the book, the U.S. will avoid energy shortages and end its dependence on foreign oil producers.

Beyond that, the energy revolution will transform the economy by putting Americans back to work. That includes not just the people who will be hired to fill the new jobs in the energy industry, but all the people who will be needed in a variety of supporting industries.

By 2020, Rogers and Lalich estimate that the revitalized energy industry will create the following increases in net new jobs:

  • 1.2 million jobs in the oil and gas industry.
  • 3.6 million jobs in services to new oil and gas companies and employees.
  • 3 million new manufacturing jobs due to low-cost energy.
  • 9 million jobs providing services to new manufacturers and their employees.
  • 5 million jobs created by eliminating half of the energy trade deficit.

Lalich says, “Combined, that’s an increase of 21.8 million net new jobs in the U.S. within the next seven years. Based on the latest BLS figures, simple math shows that the North American Energy Revolution could wipe out unemployment and underemployment. This would create a labor shortage that would drive up wages, which in turn would cause a surge in consumer spending and a boom in the economy.”

Shale gas is natural gas that is trapped within shale formations under the earth’s surface. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that nearly half of the natural gas the nation consumes will come from shale gas by 2035 — up from just 1 percent in 2000.

Fred Rogers and Richard Lalich are the Publisher and Executive Editor, respectively, of Trends Magazine, at Since 2003, Trends Magazine has provided expert guidance to a select group of executives, entrepreneurs, government officials, investors, and others who want to stay on top of the important trends shaping the future. With an unparalleled track record for forecasting trends, Rogers and Lalich have distilled their vision of the future in Ride the Wave: How 12 Technologies Will Change the World and Make You Rich, which is now on sale at More information on the book is at

This article was originally distributed on PRWeb. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit

AudioTech, Inc.
Fred Rogers

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