Class-action lawsuit alleges Apple, publishers engaged in ‘price-fixing conspiracy’ to punish Amazon

“Even as Apple unveiled new partnerships with publishers focusing on ebooks and digital textbooks earlier this week, lawyers have amended a class-action lawsuit against Apple and five of the six big publishers accusing them of ‘deep antagonism’ toward Amazon and its pricing scheme,” Josh Ong reports for AppleInsider.

“Law firm Hagens Berman filed the original lawsuit last August on behalf of a group of consumers who allege Apple and most of the publishing industry colluded to introduce an agency e-book pricing model for the iBookstore to disrupt Amazon’s wholesale model,” Ong reports. “According to the complaint, following the release of the iPad and iBooks, the five publishers raised e-book prices by 30 to 50 percent and ‘completely changed the competitive pricing landscape that had existed for decades in the industry.'”

Ong reports, “The lawsuit is asking for ‘damages for the purchasers of e-books, an injunction against pricing e-books with the agency model and forfeiture of the illegal profits received by the defendants.'”

Tons more in the full article, including how the lawsuit draws upon Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs by including an excerpt as supposed evidence of a price-fixing conspiracy, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

23 Comments

  1. So when Apple allows publishers to set their own price and frees publishers from Amazon abusing its monopoly and screwing publishers over, it’s illegal.

    I’m not surprised considering the bastard legal system that runs rampant everywhere.

    Forget about global warming, let’s kill all lawyers first.

      1. Repairing my bungled HTML:

        let’s kill all lawyers first.

        Yes, but let’s recycle their carbon by tossing them into fermentation vats and turning them into methane fuel. At last lawyers will be doing something useful for mankind. :mrgreen:

    1. Re global warming: It would be better to sequester their carbon. Dump their corpses in the deepest part of the ocean.

      Both methane and the carbon dioxide (result of burning methane) are greenhouse gasses.

  2. Funny, this frivolous lawsuit was meant to punish Apple. And I wouldn’t be surprised if these lawyers-for-hire were acting as an all-too-willing proxy for you-know-who.

  3. Nothing more than tears in their spilt milk. From a company who is starting to feel Apples friction as Apple pushes rapidly past their subsidized kindle debacle. From Amazon who had been eating the lunch of brick and northers for years. So what do the captains of tiny margin do complain that mean old Apple is charging more and making more than us. Get used to it. If you are content with making no margin great however Apple and publishers can do better. However only if they do things better like their new ebooks and ebook generating tools. Once Amazon watched the product launch you know someone said WTF how did they just do that too us. Answer clueless Amazon peeps is in the land of sales it’s all about the margin. More margin drives Apple to more and better innovations. You have been going the wrong way your boats facing the wrong way. You have been caught sleeping behind the wheel of a leaky boat heading to the rocks. You ain’t seen nothing yet. What’s to prevent Apples move into more of your backyard? Nothing at all. You will compete on price and Apple will out class and out do you. It’s almost funny to watch.

    1. Can we get a bigger preview window for posting please I hate that it’s a bitch to scroll back and see where the iPad or iPhone substituted your word for another. I know I can turn it off but it’s only a problem due to the small window.
      Above its Brick and Morters. Not brick and northers.

  4. Oh, you mean like when the music industry tried to punish Apple by allowing lower pricing by Amazon for music tracks, when Apple (Steve Jobs) fought to keep pricing down…

    1. The difference, as I see it, is that Amazon attempted to compete against Apple on music by colluding with publishers to UNDERcut the Apple price, which was contained by contracts with the publishers. Apple simply allowed publishers to sell at the value they place on the product, with Apple pocketing a sales commission. This is how 90% of sales is done in the world. Anyone can bring a law suit, but I’m not sure how Amazon expects to prevail.

  5. Um, hello…. Pricing that has existed “for decades”?!?!? eBooks have only been around since the late 90’s at best, and less than a decade from a practicality perspective… Morons!

  6. The Agency model lets publishers set the price, not Apple. Amazon was punishing the publishers by selling e-books below cost, driving down the value of paper books in consumers’ minds, and to put its main competitors, bookstores out of business. Who should be suing whom?

  7. Considering that the pricing of books, paper or e-, is up to individual publishers, WTF is Apple doing in this lawsuit?

    How does Apple’s choice of an agency model for selling books equal a ‘price-fixing conspiracy’?

    The REAL problem, from the source article:
    The price of an eBook in many cases now approaches — or even exceeds — the price of the same book in paper even though there are almost no incremental costs to produce each additional eBook unit.

    This is obviously a nasty price-gouging decision by certain publisher. Customers will of course retaliate. That’s how business works. How does one regulate how much profit a publisher chooses to make? We’re not living in China!

    The obvious solution is to go and buy e- books from publishers with rational pricing, I.E. e- book prices that reflect the lack of printing and shipping costs. So let’s publish a list of asinine publishers and boycott them!

  8. Further silliness from the source article:

    Amazon, in turn, stood on Apple’s shoulders late last year to release the $199 Kindle Fire tablet.

    NO. The Kindle Fire does NOT compete with the Apple iPad. Wrong device size. Wrong customer niche. Darn, the author failed his Marketing class.

    The Kindle Fire competes with the Barnes & Noble Color Nook. DUH. Therefore, using the article’s bizarro metaphor, Amazon “stood on” Barnes & Noble’s shoulders when they made the Kindle Fire, VERY late to market.

    iBooks 2 launched with several textbooks priced at $14.99 or less, a significant discount from traditional paper textbooks.

    Of course Apple did! Thank Apple for attempting to reflect sane pricing for mere e- books, as opposed to printed and shipped books!

    I’m going to start a “Lawyers to Gas” fermentation business. Ship me all your dead lawyers and I’ll give you 30% of the profit from turning them into methane fuel. As we all know, Lawyers are excellent sources of gas. 😆

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