US Alleges E-Book Scheme - Lawsuit Says Apple, Publishers Colluded to Raise Prices; Three Will Settle

Posted in: Legal & Security at 12/04/2012 14:38

The U.S. accused Apple Inc. and five of the nation's largest publishers Wednesday of conspiring to raise e-book prices, in a case that could radically reorder the fast-growing business.

In a civil antitrust lawsuit, the Justice Department alleged that CEOs of the publishing companies met regularly in private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants to discuss how to respond to steep discounting of their e-books by Inc., a practice they disliked. The executives also called and emailed each other to craft a solution to what one of them called "the wretched $9.99 price point," the suit said.

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Justice Dept. Sues Apple and Publishers Over E-Book Pricing; 3 Publishers Settle
The Justice Department jumped directly into the fight over the future of digital books on Wednesday -- and Amazon came out the winner.

In an action that could lower the price of e-books and shift the expanding market in Amazon's favor, the Justice Department slapped Apple and five of the largest book publishers with an antitrust lawsuit, charging that the companies colluded to raise the price of e-books.

DOJ sues Apple over price-fixing scheme
The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday brought a lawsuit against Apple and several publishing companies over a scheme to fix e-book prices.

The suit stems from the 2010 release of the iPad, when Apple reached an agreement with five publishers to release books on its then-new iBookstore. The DOJ said Apple colluded to raise the price of e-books with CBS's Simon & Schuster, News Corp.'s HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Pearson's Penguin unit and Macmillan.

European authorities are also probing Apple and the publishers for similar antitrust violations. Attorneys general for Connecticut and Texas led a handful of other states in separate litigation against the companies as well.

Apple accused by US of colluding with publishers to fix price of ebooks
The US government has accused Apple and five book publishers of colluding to fix the prices of ebooks.

A lawsuit filed in New York on Wednesday said Apple had conspired with publishers in response to Amazon's success in selling ebooks for just under $10.

Apple's Antitrust Lawsuit Might Be A Big Deal For You -- But Not For Apple
You've been had.

So says the Department of Justice, which is throwing the book at Apple with an antitrust lawsuit that accuses the tech giant and six top publishers of colluding to drive up the price of e-books.

Regulators allege that the defendants conspired to overcharge e-book buyers to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. If the case goes against Apple and the cohort of publishers, which include Hachette, HarperColllins, Macmillan, the Penguin Group and Simon and Schuster, e-book prices could be slashed virtually overnight, experts say.

Penguin Denies Wrongdoing In E-book Price Fixing Case
Penguin Group denied Justice Department charges on Wednesday that it conspired with other publishers and Apple to fix the prices for e-books.

Justice alleged in its lawsuit that five publishers plotted with Apple to set the prices for e-books. Three of the publishers have agreed to a settlement with the department, while Penguin, publisher Macmillan and Apple have so far refused to strike a deal.

Amazon to Cut E-Book Prices, Shaking Rivals
The government's decision to pursue major publishers on antitrust charges has put the Internet retailer Amazon in a powerful position: the nation's largest bookseller may now get to decide how much an e-book will cost, and the book world is quaking over the potential consequences.

As soon as the Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it was suing five major publishers and Apple on price-fixing charges, and simultaneously settling with three of them, Amazon announced plans to push down prices on e-books. The price of some major titles could fall to $9.99 or less from $14.99, saving voracious readers a bundle.

DOJ's antitrust case could shake up publishing industry [IDG]
The U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five book publishers over alleged e-book price fixing means that the publishers have to reinvent their digital futures, some experts said.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accused executives of Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster of meeting regularly beginning in late 2008 to discuss e-book pricing and's decision to sell most e-books for $9.99. Apple later offered agreements with the publishers to sell the books for $12.99 or more, the DOJ alleged.

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