Apple Denies it Helped Fix E-Book Prices
Back in April the United States Department of Justice announced it was suing Apple Inc. and a number of major U.S. publishing companies for colluding to fix the price of e-books. A month later and Apple has officially responded to the charges.
In effect, Apple says the Department of Justice is completely wrong. Specifically, it suggests that the antitrust lawsuit filed by the U.S. government is “fundamentally flawed,” and that, ironically, it could hurt competition and work against the best interests of consumers.
Here’s the original story: according to the Department of Justice, Apple began working with publishers in 2010 as the launch of its first iPad tablet computer neared. The DoJ says that Apple’s popular co-founder, Steve Jobs, wasn’t satisfied with the going rate of e-books at the time, which was about $10. For some time Amazon had offered its e-books, to be viewed on the company’s Kindle e-reader, for $9.99 and up.
The DoJ says that Jobs wanted to see that number increased substantially, to between $12.99 and $14.99, representing an increase of roughly 33 per cent. The DoJ says the jump in price cost consumers millions of dollars.
Now, Apple has said that such an accusation is a load of malarkey. The company insists that its conduct in entering the e-book distribution market represented “classic procompetitive conduct” which actually created rather than harmed competition.
Apple says that the technically impressive iPad encouraged the competition (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) to improve their own hardware, a move that benefited consumers.
Apple also says that the DoJ has been creative with its allegations against the firm’s late co-founder.
Also standing against the DoJ in this matter are the publishing companies named in the lawsuit. They too deny working together or with Apple to increase e-book prices.