On Wednesday, the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the company worked with several book publishers to fix the prices on eBooks. Late on Thursday, Apple finally responded to those allegations. In a statement sent to Allthingsd.com, the company said:
The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.
Apple is, of course, referring to Amazon's Kindle business which helped to pioneer the whole concept of eBooks in the first place.
As we reported earlier this week, the Justice Department's lawsuit also went after five book publishers. Three of them, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster, have already agreed to settle their cases with the government. The other two companies. Macmillan and Penguin, have decided to stick it out with Apple and fight the government's case, at least for now.
It remains to be seen if the judge in this case will lean towards publishers setting prices versus the eBook retailers such as Amazon being allowed to set their own prices. Oddly enough, the AllThingsD.com article points out that in the case of Apple's iTunes music store, Apple determines the price point after first paying a wholesale price to the various music labels for the rights to sell their songs.