Apple denies U.S. accusation of collusion on e-books
Apple today denied the government's accusation that it conspired with major book publishers to raise the price of e-books. Rather, spokesman Tom Neumayr says, Apple fostered innovation and competition by introducing its iBookstore in 2010, which led to e-books that are more interactive and engaging. Apple's entry into the e-book marketplace has broken "Amazon's monopolistic grip on the publishing industry," Neumayr says. Lawsuits filed this week by the Justice Department and 15 states say Apple and the publishers cost consumers more than $100 million in the past two years by adding $2 or $3—sometimes as much as $5—to the price of each e-book. On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder said executives at the highest levels of the companies conspired to eliminate competition among e-book sellers. Justice's antitrust chief, Sharis Pozen, says the executives were desperate to get Amazon.com—the marketer of Kindle e-book readers—to raise the $9.99 price point it had set for the most popular e-book titles, because that was substantially below their hardcover prices. The federal government reached a settlement with three of the publishers: Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster. But it will proceed with its lawsuit in federal court in New York City against Apple and Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group.
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