Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the three-week Apple e-book conspiracy trial came at the very end of the sixth day, when the U.S. Department of Justice revealed a shocking bit of evidence: an email that Steve Jobs purportedly wrote that showed Apple (Fortune 500) forced e-book publishers to change their existing deals with , Amazon (Fortune 500). ,
In the email, Jobs tells Apple software and services VP Eddy Cue that he'd agree to Cue's suggested price tiers only if publishers forced Amazon to switch to a so-called agency model. In that type of deal, which Apple pushed, the publisher sets the price and the retailer takes a cut off the top. Amazon had been using a "wholesale model," in which Amazon set the price instead.
The DOJ presented the email as a smoking gun that demonstrated that Apple was the "ringleader" in pitting the publishers against Amazon -- the issue at the center of the case.
The only problem: Jobs never sent the email. It was a draft.
In fact, Apple's defense showed four other drafts in which the "move Amazon to agent model" language had disappeared. That showed Jobs changed his thinking, the defense said. Cue's take: Jobs never sent any of the emails because he was confused about how the different provisions worked.
Questioned repeatedly by the judge, he does not dispute that they engaged in a conspiracy.