Apple fights alone as Justice Dept settles e-book case with Macmillan

Apple fights alone as Justice Dept settles e-book case with Macmillan
Apple is last man standing in DoJ case.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) had previously settled an anti-trust case with four of five book publishers alleged to have conspired with Apple Inc. to fix prices of e-books. The DoJ sued Apple and the five publishers - Macmillan, Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Simon & Schuster Inc. - for damaging the emerging market with its conspiracy, and costing consumers millions of dollars more.

On Friday, the DoJ and Macmillan filed a settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which is pending approval. If it is approved by the court, then only Apple will be left in the Justice Department's war path.

The case was filed in April last year, and alleged that Apple Inc. and the publishers conspired to eliminate competition in the free market by forcing e-book retailers to keep prices of the most sought after e-books higher than they would otherwise be.

The DoJ said that one of the publishers' CEO's had remarked that e-books were being sold at a "wretched $9.99 price point." When you have a lot of e-book retailers, they will naturally look to provide the best prices for the content to keep customers coming back, and with the e-book market growing all the time, such competition is vital for consumers to feel comfortable adapting.

"As a result of today's settlement, Macmillan has agreed to immediately allow retailers to lower the prices consumers pay for Macmillan's e-books," said Jamillia Ferris, Chief of Staff and Counsel at the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

"Just as consumers are already paying lower prices for the e-book versions of many of Hachette's, HarperCollins' and Simon & Schuster's new releases and best sellers, we expect the prices of many of Macmillan's e-books will also decline."

The trial against Apple is scheduled to begin in June 2013.

Written by: James Delahunty @ 10 Feb 2013 8:21
Apple Department of Justice
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