Apple: charges of eBooks price fixing are "simply not true"

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.

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19 Comments

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Considering Apple's propensity for pricing their devices to a particular market, I say their users deserve what they get. If they're willing to pay for the simplicity and convenience, good on the Companies for taking their money.

See, this just shows how great Apple is! Apple takes the vigilante approach, raising prices, so they can end the evil Amazon "monopoly" on ebooks. Who wouldn't want to pay a few dollars extra, contributing to Apple's bottom line, to make sure that Amazon doesn't have a "monopoly" on ebooks? Amazon allows me to read their books on any device, while Apple only allows me to read on a iDevice - further showing how Apple is being the trust buster.

Thanks Apple for looking out for me!

nohone said,
See, this just shows how great Apple is! Apple takes the vigilante approach, raising prices, so they can end the evil Amazon "monopoly" on ebooks. Who wouldn't want to pay a few dollars extra, contributing to Apple's bottom line, to make sure that Amazon doesn't have a "monopoly" on ebooks? Amazon allows me to read their books on any device, while Apple only allows me to read on a iDevice - further showing how Apple is being the trust buster.

Thanks Apple for looking out for me!

Not sure if serious or just trolling!!!

neo158 said,

Not sure if serious or just trolling!!!

It is called going to the extreme to prove a point. Apple is fighting a "monopolist" by raising prices and harming the consumer.

" Amazon's Kindle business which helped to pioneer the whole concept of eBooks"

Seriously? I had official eBooks back in 1996. Perhaps some better wording is required on that one line.

jerzdawg said,
"simply not true" - well thats good enough for me. Case closed!
Let's see how we can spin this. "Simply not true, but complicatedly true". "Simply not true, but we aren't saying it's false either".

I don't trust the Holder justice department on just about anything, however having read the complaint and associated proposed settlements, it sure as hell looks bad, and there is a lot of 'there' there in the published complaint. I'm rather surprised there isn't more outrage over what was revealed in the DOJ complaint, assuming the DOJ can back it up, but if they couldn't I don't think those 3 would have agreed to settle so quick. For those that haven't take a hour an read through it all, pretty entertaining stuff.


knighthawk said,
I don't trust the Holder justice department on just about anything, however having read the complaint and associated proposed settlements, it sure as hell looks bad, and there is a lot of 'there' there in the published complaint. I'm rather surprised there isn't more outrage over what was revealed in the DOJ complaint, assuming the DOJ can back it up, but if they couldn't I don't think those 3 would have agreed to settle so quick. For those that haven't take a hour an read through it all, pretty entertaining stuff.
That's the rub - they have to be able to back it up. I share your distrust of the Holder justice dept. I haven't read the complaint, but what I have heard sounds like a lot of accusations, light in actual evidence.

SiLeNtDeAtH said,
That's the rub - they have to be able to back it up. I share your distrust of the Holder justice dept. I haven't read the complaint, but what I have heard sounds like a lot of accusations, light in actual evidence.

For what it's worth I'd suggest you read the complaint and accompanying documents, before jumping to the conclusion that evidence seems light, I think you might change your mind fairly quickly. My comment about them backing it up was more about seeing the full emails and other documents and testimony (from ceo's involved) all referenced in the complaint not just snippets, and backing it up as in getting that all admitted properly at a trial and not having people recant etc. I mean they have statements from at least one if not two of the settling ceo's that pretty much everything the DOJ says happened, happened - pretty damning in and of itself.

ref'd docs in case anyone is interested - http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/applebooks.html