Apple denies conspiring to fix e-book prices

13th Apr 2012 | 18:39

Apple denies conspiring to fix e-book prices

Book Publisher Penguin responds in kind

Apple responded to The Department of Justice's allegations that the company conspired with book publishers to set e-book prices lower in the iTunes iBookstore, claiming it's "simply not true."

The DOJ brought an antitrust suit against Apple and five major publishers, whom they say conspired before the iPad's launch in 2010 to set prices lower in Apple's digital storefront, thereby harming competition from other digital book sellers.

The accusations stem from a shift around that time to an "agency model," where the publishers set books, taking control away from retailers.

Apple's denial of the charges

Apple responded in a statement: "The DOJ's accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon's monopolistic grip on the publishing industry."

"Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we've allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore."

The book publishers respond

Of the five publishers, Penguin was the last to respond. "We have had the opportunity to study the complaint released by the DOJ today and nothing in this lengthy document causes us to veer from that position," they told the Inquirer.

"The document contains a number of material misstatements and omissions, which we look forward to having the opportunity to correct in court."

As of Wednesday, publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster agreed to settle with the DOJ. If the court agrees as well, the three will grant retailers the freedom to set their own prices.

In addition, they'll be prohibited from sharing "competitively sensitive" information with one another for five years and be required to implement antitrust compliance programs, said the DOJ.

Besides Penguin, one other publisher is also standing their ground. The CEO of Macmillan said Wednesday that he reached the decision to adopt the new pricing model independently of any outside influence.

Via The Inquirer

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