• Apple Named in e-Book Price Fixing Lawsuit

    It's been about ten minutes since we reported on a lawsuit in which Apple is involved, so we're long over-due for this headline, it seems.

    The latest legal snafu involving Apple has manifested in the form of a new class-action lawsuit which says Apple is among the companies that "conspired" with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster to dramatically escalate e-book prices.

    Calling it a plot "to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon.com to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing," the lawsuit accuses Apple of unfair business practices. The suit, which was filed this week in a California district court by law firm Hagens Berman on behalf of plaintiffs Anthony Petru and Marcus Mathis, blames Apple and company for having "colluded... to illegally fix prices."

    In a nutshell, the suit asserts that Apple is "in violation of a variety of federal and state antitrust laws."

    "As a result of the pricing conspiracy, prices of ebooks have exploded, jumping as much as 50%. When an ebook version of a bestseller costs close to or even more than its hard-copy counterpart, it doesn't take a forensic economist to see that this is evidence of market manipulation," said Steve Berman, founding partner of Hagens Berman, in a press release about the suit. "Fortunately for the publishers, they had a co-conspirator as terrified as they were over Amazon's popularity and pricing structure, and that was Apple. We intend to prove that Apple needed a way to neutralise Amazon's Kindle before its popularity could challenge the upcoming introduction of the iPad a device Apple intended to compete as an e-reader."

    Source: The Guardian
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