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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Things go rotten for Apple

If Apple didn't have enough on their plate with the US  Department of Justice going for their collective jugular regarding eBook price fixing, further woes will be added after Canada has also decided to go after Apple over eBook price fixing.  Montreal's The Gazette reports that Canada is following the United States and going after Apple and the five book publishers for ebook price fixing.According to The Gazette, the lawsuit was filed in Quebec Superior Court by lawyer Normand Painchaud last February. Like those filed here in the States, his class-action suit claims that Apple colluded with the book publishers to raise ebook prices in order to topple Amazon's dominance. Same story, different territory.

The controversy centres on the so-called "agency model" of pricing, which allows publishers to dictate the charge for each ebook as long as the retailer gets 30pc of the profits. Publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan all signed up to the scheme with Apple, before it was adopted by other retailers.
However, the arrangement has sparked controversy and legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic. Last December, the European Union opened an investigation into anti-competitive behaviour. In America, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has launched legal action against Apple and the publishers for alleged collusion.
The technology company was initially tight-lipped about the US case but last week broke its silence to declare itself innocent and paint itself as a hero for breaking Amazon's "monopolistic grip". It said the iPad's bookstore "fostered innovation and competition".
However, it has taken an altogether different approach in Brussels. Joaquín Almunia, the European Union competition commissioner, said he has received settlement offers from Apple and all the publishers other than Penguin.

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