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Apple Antitrust Suit Nothing Wads Of Cash Can't Fix: Seven And A Half Things To Know

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Apple CEO Tim Cook smiles bravely despite the government's antitrust lawsuit.
Apple CEO Tim Cook smiles bravely despite the government's antitrust lawsuit.

The betting odds are 4-to-1 that Facebook will buy Foursquare next, but the odds are even better that you will need to know these seven and a half things today:

Thing One: All Your E-book Prices Are Belong To Us: Apple didn't get to be America's Greatest Company with low, low prices, and now the Justice Department claims it is proselytizing the high-price gospel so fervently that it might have stepped outside of the law to do so.

In a complaint that Politico points out reads like a spy thriller you will soon be able to buy on Amazon.com for $9.99, the Justice Department accuses Apple of colluding with five book publishers to keep e-book prices high, to counteract the power of that black hole of a book-selling behemoth, Amazon. Three of the publishers settled, while Apple and the other two publishers chose to duke it out for a little while.

Ultimately, The Huffington Post's Bianca Bosker notes, this will mean little to Apple, which will slap the DOJ off its arm, yawn and roll over to find another comfy spot in its bed filled with money. But it will mean cheaper e-books for you and a big boon to Amazon, which will now have an e-book monopoly, notes David Streitfeld of The New York Times.

Thing Two: Most Favored Muppets: Apparently Goldman Sachs does not treat all of its clients like Muppets! A day after news broke that it could find no email evidence of its employees calling clients Muppets, Reuters is reporting that Goldman is about to agree to pay $22 million to settle charges that it gave some of its research to favored clients a little early.

Thing Three: J&J Hit With Whopping Fine: An Arkansas judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.2 billion after a jury found that the drug giant had hidden the dangers of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. This could open the floodgates to a lot more legal pain for J&J, The New York Times writes.

Thing Four: Econorama: After a long hiatus following last week's not-so-blockbuster jobs report, we start getting some interesting economic data today. Weekly jobless claims, wholesale price inflation numbers and trade-gap data are all due at 8:30 this morning. This comes a day after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report reported "modest-to-moderate" economic growth everywhere, which would seem to imply no need for the Fed to fire up its money-blower any time soon. But Spencer Jakab of the Wall Street Journal writes that slower inflation numbers this week, coupled with a slower pace of job growth and a giant hissy fit by the stock market could be just the right cocktail that gets us another round of Fed stimulus. Hooray.

Thing Five: The Italian Job: Global markets are calm this morning, with traders breathing a sigh of relief after Italy managed to sell some debt at not-horrible prices this morning. But do not mistake this temporary clearing for the edge of the woods, warns George Soros in the Financial Times. "Far from abating, the euro crisis has recently taken a turn for the worse," he growls.

Thing Six: BlackRock To Take Ball, Go Home: In the latest episode of the continued shrink-ening of Wall Street, investment giant BlackRock is starting its own private club where it and other trading behemoths can swap bonds back and forth with each other without paying fees to investment banks, the Wall Street Journal reports. "The electronic trading hub has the potential to reduce a lucrative revenue stream for investment banks at a time when their businesses are being squeezed by lackluster markets and new regulations put in place to curb risk in the aftermath of the financial crisis."

Thing Seven: No Money Down: Iran's economy is getting hammered by Western sanctions, but it has found a way to fight back, by adopting a tactic used by car and furniture salesmen all over the world: No money down! Iran is selling countries oil on credit, 180 days same as cash, the Financial Times reports.

Thing Seven And One Half: Fox Catches Mole: One of the lamer moles in the history of, um, mole-ing has been captured. Soon-to-be-former Fox News employee Joe Muto, after working for Fox and Bill O'Reilly for several years, finally decided he'd had enough and began feeding Gawker some candid video clips and rather bland gossip (the Fox News bathrooms are not very cozy, oh noes!), but was caught almost immediately because Muto didn't bother to cover up his digital tracks. Now he's working for Gawker, where he promises even more juicy details about Fox, like maybe how Bill O'Reilly is a giant jerkface and other stuff we didn't know already.

Bonus Thing: If you want to get this column in the form of a convenient daily email, simply click here and then sacrifice your email address to the skinny box that will appear, through the magic of the Interwebs, on the right side of the page that pops up.

Calendar Du Jour:

Economic Data Releases:

8:30 a.m. ET: Weekly jobless claims | Initial Claims for 04/07
8:30 a.m.: Producer Price Index for March
8:30 a.m.: International trade balance for February

Corporate Earnings Reports:

11:00 a.m.: Fastenal
After 4:00 p.m.: Google

Heard On The Tweets:

@ArthurDelaneyHP: things are looking up RT @thegarance: Study: Just four jobs are worse than being a newspaper reporter | Poynter.

@ReformedBroker: The Fed's Beige Book analyzes economic activity around things that are beige, like hummus and my aunt's Honda Accord

@jayrosen_nyu: “We found the [mole] and we’re exploring legal options at this time.” -- Fox News Spokesperson

@jackshafer: When a fox catches a mole, does it kill it outright or play with it to death?

@dashb0t: Sounds like something a mole would say. RT @TheStalwart: If I worked with a mole, I can't begin to imagine the rage I'd feel.

-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.

And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja

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