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Apple, publishers face antitrust suit over e-books pricing

Published:Thursday | April 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM


The US government on Wednesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc and book publishers, saying they conspired to raise retail electronic-book prices to limit competition.

The government also filed papers in US District Court in Manhattan saying it had reached a settle-ment with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. It will proceed with its lawsuit against Apple and other publishers, including Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co Ltd, doing business as Penguin Group.

The lawsuit said the effort was a response to the success had in selling e-books for just under $10. The alleged conspiracy came as Apple was preparing to launch the iPad and called for Apple to be guaranteed a 30 per cent commission on each e-book it sold, the lawsuit said.

"To effectuate their conspiracy, the publisher defendants teamed up with defendant Apple, which shared the same goal of restraining retail price competition in the sale of e-books," the lawsuit said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a comment request.

Macmillan Chief Executive Officer John Sargent said in a letter to authors, illustrators and agents that the company has not settled because it is "hard to settle a lawsuit when you know you have done no wrong".

He said: "Macmillan did not act illegally. Macmillan did not collude."

- AP