Apple Denies U.S. Allegations of E-Book Prices Collusion

Apple Denies Justice Department Allegations of E-Book Collusion
The iBooks app on an Apple iPad. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Apple Inc. denied allegations by the U.S. government that it conspired with book publishers to fix prices of digital books to undermine Amazon.com Inc.’s dominance of the market.

The Department of Justice’s “accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true,” said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple. The company’s digital bookstore, introduced in 2010, “fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.”

Apple and book publishers Macmillan and Penguin were sued this week by the U.S. over claims they conspired to fix prices of digital books. Three other publishers named in the government’s antitrust lawsuit, CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster, Lagardère SCA’s Hachette Book Group and News Corp.’s HarperCollins, settled their cases after the government’s complaint was filed this week in federal court in Manhattan.

As a result of Apple’s entry into the market, “customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging,” Kerris said. “Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.”

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