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US sues Apple, publishers over e-book pricing

Washington, Thu, 12 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 12 (ANI): The United States government has sued tech giant Apple and five major book publishers, accusing them of colluding to raise e-book prices rather than allowing retailers to set them.

The lawsuit, filed in New York district court, names Apple, Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon and Schuster as defendants.

According to The Telegraph, Simon and Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins have settled their suits, but sources revealed that Apple and Macmillan have refused to engage in negotiations and deny they colluded to raise prices for e-books.

The two firms will argue that pricing agreements between Apple and publishers enhanced competition in the e-book industry, which was dominated by Amazon.com.

According to a Bloomberg report, the US Justice Department is investigating how Apple changed the way publishers charged for e-books on the iPad.

The Justice Department said it would announce an "unspecified" antitrust settlement today, the report said.

Apple, Penguin Group and Macmillan want to protect the so-called agency model that lets publishers, not sellers, set e-book prices.

The US government is seeking a settlement that would let Amazon and other retailers return to a wholesale model, where retailers decide the price of a book, the paper said.

According to the report, a settlement could also void so-called most-favoured nation clauses in Apple's contracts that require book sellers to provide the maker of the iPad with the lowest prices they offer competitors. (ANI)

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