US Department Of Justice Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Ebook Publishers And Apple

According to Bloomberg, the US Department of Justice just filed an antitrust lawsuit against Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Apple over the pricing of ebooks.

The lawsuit was filed because the Department of Justice thinks publishers and Apple have colluded against Amazon and other retailers by setting the price for ebooks (as opposed to letting those retailers set the price). Apple's deal with publishers, as you may know, lets the publishers set the price for ebooks (with a lowest-price guarantee) in Apple's iBooks store with Apple getting a 30 per cent cut on sales. If the DOJ wins the anti-trust lawsuit against Apple, Apple would lose the low-price guarantees it has with publishers for its ebooks and the whole ebook pricing system would move toward the 'wholesale model', where retailers like Amazon could charge whatever they want.

As of now, Apple has not participated in any settlement talks with the DOJ, so it might be looking to fight this out in court. It could get ugly. [Bloomberg]

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