Apple Says Amazon Used to Have “Monopolistic Grip” on eBook Biz


Apple has been accused of having publishers fix eBook prices, but they claim to have done nothing wrong. The Department of Justice (DoJ) recently sued Apple in an antitrust lawsuit. Apple and a number of ebook publishers were named, and 16 states soon followed in the lawsuit. Some publishers such as HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster have agreed to settle. However, Apple, Penguin and Macmillan have not, and it seems that they will take the fight onward.

Apple issued a release saying that the DoJ’s accusation is “simply not true.” Adding that “the launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, braking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.”

Macmillan’s statement was similar, and CEO John Sargent said, “we came to the conclusion that the terms could have allowed Amazon to recover the monopoly position it had been building before our switch to the agency model.” As for why they did not choose to settle, they said, “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.”

Penguin Group CEO John Makinson’s statement was along the same lines offering three reasons for their stance, “The first is that we have done nothing wrong … The second, and equally powerful, reason for our decision to place this matter in the hands of a court is that we believed then, as we do now, that the agency model is the one that offers consumers the prospect of an open and competitive market for e-books.”

Meanwhile, Ars reports that Amazon seems happy, “This is a big win for Kindle owners, and we look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books.”

[Via Ars Technica]

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