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The battle over e-book prices

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Multistate e-book pricing lawsuit seeks refunds for buyers

Alongside a federal lawsuit aimed at Apple and book publishers for allegedly colluding to fix e-book prices, 16 state attorneys general in the U.S. today filed a lawsuit against three publishers and Apple.

The complaint, which was filed in the District Court for the Western District of Texas, takes aim at the Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Apple, and claims that the four companies worked together to raise prices on e-books, resulting in e-book buyers overpaying by some $100 million. (Disclosure: Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS, which also owns CNET.)

Unlike the federal suit on … Read more

Amazon says DOJ deal with book publishers win for Kindle owners

Apple is under federal investigation for allegedly colluding to fix e-book prices with book publishers.

Amazon is delighted...with the prospect of being enabled to once again lower prices.

"[The settlement] is a big win for Kindle owners," Amazon said in a statement. "We look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books."

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against Apple and several book publishers. The DOJ alleges that Apple and the publishers colluded in 2010 to fix e-book prices. Apple denies the allegations and has chosen to defend … Read more

DOJ announces three e-book settlements, but not with Apple

The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed today that it has reached antitrust settlements for alleged e-book price fixing with three large publishers -- but said Apple has chosen to fight the charges in court.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference this morning (see video below) that the settlement will provide retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble the "freedom to reduce the prices of their e-book titles" in the future.

Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers, and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS, which publishes CNET) agreed to settle … Read more

This is why DOJ accused Apple of fixing e-book prices

In 2010, Apple enabled some of the top book publishers to set their own prices for electronic books they made available on the iPad.

Since then, prices that consumers pay for e-books have risen and Amazon and other online book sellers that discount have been under pressure. The government said today in an antitrust complaint filed in New York, that the arrangement Apple struck with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster was an attempt to control prices and violated the law.

The case could hurt Apple's position in the e-book market, a sector that is growing … Read more

Justice Dept. files suit against Apple, publishers over e-book pricing

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and several book publishers this morning, claiming that they worked together to artificially prop up prices for e-books.

The publishers sued were Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. The suit (posted below) was filed in a district court in New York.

"Apple facilitated the publisher defendants' collective effort to end retail price competition by coordinating their transition to an agency model across all retailers," according to the complaint.

Apple and Macmillan haven't engaged in settlement talks with the Justice Department, Bloomberg reported. The companies … Read more

Apple vs. DOJ: Does Tim Cook really want this fight?

We'll likely get the official word soon but it's starting to look as if Apple is about to get sued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sources confirmed with the Washington reporters for Bloomberg and Reuters that a lawsuit may get filed today. (Update 7:10 a.m. PT: Bloomberg and others are reporting that the U.S. has indeed sued Apple and Hachette over over e-book pricing.)

Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and HarperCollins are apparently settling with the government, while McMillan and Penguin are gearing for a fight -- along with Apple. (Disclosure: Simon &… Read more

Apple finally meets its match (Hint: It's called the DOJ)

Wouldn't it be ironic if Apple got tripped up by something so seemingly insignificant as an e-book? But even a Steve Jobs, if he were still around, would be hard-pressed to talk his way out of the company's current predicament.

If The Wall Street Journal's reporting is accurate, Apple has failed to reach agreement with regulators investigating charges of price-fixing involving e-book titles. Of course, this could change on a moment's notice. But if so, it won't be because the trustbusters are ready to bend.

The U.S. Justice Department, which has coordinated its probe … Read more

Apple: Kindle is no 'threat' in e-book market

Apple is fighting back against allegations that it has been involved in e-book price fixing to counter Amazon's dominance in that space.

In a court filing obtained by PaidContent yesterday, Apple argues that any claim that it views Amazon and the Kindle e-book store as a threat is nonsense.

Here's what Apple had to say in the court filing:

"Nor does this 'Kindle theory' make sense on its own terms. For example, if Amazon was a 'threat' that needed to be squelched by means of an illegal conspiracy, why would Apple offer Amazon's Kindle app on … Read more

It's official: DOJ believes in the tooth fairy

As Microsoft's Mark Murray was wont to say on another occasion: It's a good day for Microsoft. Today also turned out to be a good day for Google, Apple, and, yes, even RIM.

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Justice gave the green light to the sale of a trove of old patents once held by Nortel and Novell. The new patent holders are now free to create new and exciting technologies--or they can try to use their patents as legal clubs to batter rivals into submission. It's a free country.

This is all part of … Read more