U.S. DOJ hits Apple, major publishers with antitrust lawsuit, alleges collusion on eBook prices

“The U.S. hit Apple Inc. and five of the nation’s largest publishers with an antitrust lawsuit over the fast-growing e-book market, alleging they conspired to raise prices and block Amazon.com Inc. from selling e-books at $9.99,” Chad Bray, Brent Kendall and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Three of the publishers settled the U.S. suit and agreed to let Amazon and other retailers set the consumer price of e-books, upending the model that had led the price of many best-selling e-books to rise to $12.99 or $14.99,” Bray, Kendall and Trachtenberg report. “A separate settlement with states could lead to tens of millions of dollars in restitution to consumers who bought e-books.”

Bray, Kendall and Trachtenberg report, “Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled the federal suit at a Washington news conference. ‘As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles,’ he said. Some publishers hit back at the allegations, saying they did nothing wrong and were acting to prevent Amazon from taking a dominant position in e-book retailing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. DOJ is plainly inept.

Related articles:
Macmillan CEO blasts U.S. DOJ; gov’t on verge of killing real competition for appearance of competition – April 11, 2012
U.S. DOJ may sue Apple over ebook price-fixing as early as today, sources say – April 11, 2012

33 Comments

    1. Commies out of control. The MaoBama regime US Greatness wrecking ball!!!

      Come on Lib-Row-Tards, let’s watch you defend this like the ZOMBIE-DRONES that you are!

    2. The country on Democrats also took on Microsoft. Though the final decision under a Republican DOJ merely slapped them on the wrist, they still reigned MS in for 10 years (plus an additional 3 during the late-90s trials, when MS was on self-imposed better behaviour), giving Apple a better chance to execute Jobs’ spectacular turnaround.

      Not saying Apple couldn’t have done all it did even if MS had kept running unchecked, but you can’t deny it was easier with MS’ hands slightly chained.

    3. Give it a goddam rest and spout this crap elsewhere. This is a government department and this could occur under any party in power. State that you think the DoJ area bunch of Jackasses but don’t pull in your other prejudices here.

      Effin moron

    4. … I may not agree with you, but your argument was at least civil. Completely off-topic, but concise and reasonably stated.
      An opposing tactic was used by Proven Fact, who had no “facts” to offer, just a lot of diatribe he seems to think constitute “discussion” and “argument”.
      Then Montana Joe piped up by calling moss man, who was uncivil enough to add actual facts into the dialog, a “commie”. Is “commie” really the only, or the strongest, insult these guys know? Do any of them know what it means? Anyway, he added it without a shred of pretense … “here’s a personal insult with no backing and no other raison d’être, screw you all”.
      Perhaps it’s time for MDN to take a little control and rein in the off-topic, insulting political comments. Yeah?
      And, R2 … thanks for keeping it clean.

  1. Welcome to the Obama Agenda: destroy everything good to elevate the lazy, criminals, and the godless! It’s only going to get worse! Holder is a corrupt, racist scumbag!

    1. Do you really and truly think that ANYONE elected to POTUS regardless of their political stripe would truly think of ways to deliberately destroy everything good? I thought Bush wasn’t a particularly good president (a feeling shared by nearly all Canadians) but in no way would I ever think or even say that. Besides, there were a few good things that he did (increased NIH’s budget which is normally not a Conservative ideal).

      You sir watch too many cartoons.

  2. What is wrong with this picture:

    Our Department of Justice goes after the most successful company in America. A company that makes its customers exceedingly happy and productive with one great product after another.

    Meanwhile, our Department of Justice has ignored the crime on Wall Street and the banking sector which drove this country over the cliff in 2008. DOJ hasn’t convicted or even filed suit against any big names in finance who are stealing our money hand over fist.

    Is this a great country of what?

    1. The Attorney General (who is the head of the DOJ) is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the President

      Next time try buying a clue (ie cracking a civics book)

  3. Making board statments about a particular ideology you don’t like based on one action of a goverment department is simply being obtuse and fearmongering. I on the other hand, am okay with the godless if that means I don’t have to listen about how rape babies are a blessing and that the goverment should regulate your sexual habits. A society can be judged on how it treats even the least of its citizens. Oh wait, that was too christian a point for my godless ideology….

    1. Standing up for greatness, freedom, the US Constitution, and capitalism everywhere and anywhere is the duty of every compassionate human being.

      Liberalism = Misery – Destruction

  4. So let me understand this: Amazon drives all sorts of small businesses out of business, makes it difficult for authors to make any money and makes it increasingly difficult for publishers to make any money and thus stay in business, but that is okay? What genius work this is! It will be also be interesting to see all the evidence they supposedly have about the conspiracy that allegedly was going on. What is so additionally pitiful about this is that when the feds loose the case, MacMillan and Apple cannot recover their cost for a frivolous lawsuit. This should be most interesting.

    1. If Amazon wanted to sell a book at $9.99, and the publisher wouldn’t let them, that may be the publisher’s prerogative.

      However, if a group of publishers got together with the idea of stopping Amazon from selling their product at whatever price Amazon wanted to, that’s conspiracy, and a CLEAR anti-trust violation.

      To put it another way, if Best Buy wants to sell a Mac at cost as a loss-leader, but Apple sets a minimum price, that’s between them (I believe).

      However, if six major computer manufacturers got together and decided that Best Buy couldn’t sell their computers at a bare-bones price, THAT is antitrust, and is illegal regardless of the party in possession of The White House.

      This has very little to do with Obama, and everything to do with following the rule of law. To think different, to spin the phrase, is just partisan anger.

      1. That’s fine for the publishers, which is why 3 of those named by the DoJ chose to settle before today’s announcement. Apple charges 30% for content it hosts – be it app or e-book. 30% of whatever publishers agree to, regardless of whether they do it individually or (allegedly) collectively.

        Don’t think Apple is going to knuckle under like some of the publishers did – or Google did by coughing up a half a *billion* when the DoJ came knocking about their support of illegal prescription drug ads.

        http://themacadvocate.com/2012/04/11/department-of-justice-lines-up-apple-publishers-for-ebook-price-fixing/

  5. I don’t have a political banner up my butt nor can I interpret law in this regard. All I can say is that I hope the courts see this one fairly and take into consideration Amazon’s market undermining in part.

  6. Amazon should compete on the agency model instead of running to the DoJ for relief. Amazon’s model is price gouging and predatory. It is meant to create a monolithic distributor on the sweat and labors of the publishing industry. Others work hard and Amazon reaps the profits and puts them into double jeopardy by undercutting them. If Amazon model is so great and beautiful then why did it succumb to the agency model’s 30% instead of the 70% it was demanding from publishers? The agency model ensures that there are multiple players instead of a single monolithic player. Monopolists like Amazon pretend to be benevolent in the initial stage but when they achieve their aim they would slowly ratchet to high prices again. Let the publishers deal with whatever models they see fit. That is competition.

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