US sues Apple, others in e-book antitrust suit

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WASHINGTON—The US Justice Department is filing an antitrust suit against Apple and publishers over e-book pricing, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Justice Department scheduled an announcement for noon (1600 GMT) on a “significant antitrust matter,” according to a statement, which had no details.

Prior to the introduction of Apple’s iPad in April 2010, online retail giant Amazon, maker of the Kindle e-book reader, sold electronic versions of many new best sellers for $9.99.

But Apple forced a change in pricing for e-books when the iPad emerged as a rival e-book reading platform, moving publishers to a so-called “agency model” which calls for them to set book prices and for Apple to take a 30 percent cut.

European antitrust officials announced in December they were conducting a probe into Apple and the five publishers to determine whether they had struck illegal deals to fix the prices of e-books in Europe.

But Apple has received support from the Authors Guild, which contends that Apple helped boost competition against Amazon, which had dominated the market previously.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/jp.lowkey83 JP O

    Yes but the point is that if proven guilty, publishers have conspired with Apple to raise prices just to cut the market share of Amazon. It would be fine to sell e-books at a higher price in a marketplace that caters to class A consumers; but why raise prices at Amazon?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WAL4ZHJKGYUVI3C2UZQVAWYO4 Carl

    I have eight e-books for sale on my own website and would gladly pay Apple 30% of that price if they listed it on their store. 

    The extra cost is simply a cost of getting your product into a high-class neighborhood.  Not much different to the different prices for the same product in SM and the Divisoria. 

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