U.S. Department of Justice Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple, Publishers
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in New York claiming that the companies colluded to fix eBook pricing.
Apple and Macmillan, which have refused to engage in settlement talks with the Justice Department, deny they colluded to raise prices for digital books, according to people familiar with the matter. 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 Justice Department is probing how Cupertino, California-based Apple changed the way publishers charged for e- books on the iPad, a person familiar with the matter said last month. CBS Corp. (CBS)'s Simon & Schuster, Lagardère SCA's Hachette Book Group and News Corp. (NWSA)'s HarperCollins are seeking to avoid a costly legal battle and could settle as soon as today, two people familiar with the matter said.
The Justice Department says it will announce an antitrust settlement today that will presumably see some of these publishers return to a wholesale model.