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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

U.S. Government Sues Apple Book Publishers

The lawsuit filed says that Apple and other publishing companies are involved in a suspected conspiracy.

The U.S. Government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of AP)
The U.S. Government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of AP)
The U.S. government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and several book publishers on Wednesday on charges that they worked together to increase the retail prices of electronic books in order to decrease competition.

The lawsuit is said to have been filed as a response to the success has had in selling e-books for just under $10.

The alleged conspiracy occurred when Apple was about to launch the iPad and stated that they would be guaranteed a 30 percent commission on each e-book sold.

"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.

Macmillian Chief Executive Officer John Sargent told his staff that the company has not settled in the lawsuit, because they have done nothing wrong.

"Macmillan did not act illegally," said Sargent. "We also felt the settlement the DOJ wanted to impose would have a very negative and long term impact on those who sell books for a living, from the largest chain stores to the smallest independents."

Amazon has demanded higher discounts from publishers and is no longer offering e-books from the Independent Publishers Group, based in Chicago, after they couldn't agree to terms.

Since Amazon launched the Kindle in 2007, the website has offered best-selling books for just $9.99, half the normal cost of a book.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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