Justice Department alleges e-book price-fixing in lawsuit against Apple, publishers

Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department alleges in an antitrust lawsuit that publishers colluded with each other and with Apple to fix the prices of e-books, reports Bloomberg’s Bob Van Voris. Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group and HarperCollins have settled their suits. “Those three publishers agreed to terminate their agreements with Apple regarding e-books and refrain from limiting any retailer’s ability to set e-book prices for two years,” reports The Wall Street Journal. But Apple, Penguin and Macmillan are prepared to fight the allegations, Van Voris says. “They will argue that pricing agreements between Apple and publishers enhanced competition in the e-book industry, which was dominated by Amazon.com Inc.” The lawsuit stems from the industry’s switch from a wholesale model, in which retailers could set prices for e-books (and undercut each other), to an “agency model,” in which publishers set the prices that retailers could charge.

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