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DOJ defends its Apple lawsuit

After public complaints by Sen. Charles Schumer and others, the DOJ says it's not wavering in its lawsuit against Apple and five major US publishers.

By Husna Haq / July 24, 2012

The Department of Justice says its suit against Apple and other retailers has already reaped positive change in the industry, citing upcoming devices such as the Microsoft Surface tablet that will compete against Apple and Amazon devices.

Rene Macura/AP


The Justice Department’s 66-page response to the 868 (overwhelmingly negative) comments it received about its e-book price fixing case can be summed up in three words: take a hike.

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In response to these and other public complaints about the lawsuit (see Sen. Charles Schumer), the Department of Justice, perhaps not surprisingly, staunchly defended its case against Apple and five major publishers, insisting they conspired to raise the prices of e-books.

The DOJ’s investigation into sharp upticks in e-book prices upon the launch of Apple’s iBookstore in 2010 “uncovered significant evidence that the seismic shift in e-book prices was not the result of market forces, but rather came about through the collusive efforts of Apple and five of the six largest publishers in the country,” according to a US federal court filing in New York.

(The Wall Street Journal reported that the DOJ’s suit claims “executives of the major book publishers met regularly in private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants to discuss how to respond to steep discounting by Inc.”)

“The Department stuck to its view that what matters most is that consumers be able to buy e-books at the lowest prices possible in free market competition and that Apple and five publishers colluded illegally in instituting the agency model,” writes industry newsletter Shelf Awareness. “The Department defended all of its proposed remedies, right down to its requirements of ‘logs of communications among publishers,’ federal review of any joint ventures and ‘antitrust counseling’ for publishing executives.”

In other words, the DOJ said it’s not wavering.


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