The US DOJ have rejected criticisms of its price fixing case against Apple and five major publishers, saying its critics either don't understand or are just looking out for themselves.The DOJ filed a case in April accusing Apple and five publishing houses of colluding on eBook prices in their attempt to counteract the growing dominance of Amazon in the market.
Three of the publishers have already
settled the case, agreeing to rip up the contracts that contained agency
agreements between themselves and Apple, thus once again allowing
retailers to discount books as much as they want and ditch most-favoured
The agency model, not in itself illegal, was at the heart of the
DOJ's concerns. Under those contracts, publishers set the price for
eBooks and retailers take a percentage. Before Apple came on the scene,
publishers sold their eBooks at a wholesale price and the retailers were
the ones who priced them, allowing Amazon to sell eBooks at cost or
below cost in order to shift its Kindle readers.
The DOJ said it had received 868 comments in the case – from
individuals, publishers, retailers and even Apple. While some supported
the DoJ, others criticised the case, but the DOJ maintained that the
critics either misunderstood the department's judgment or were trying to
keep prices higher for their own purposes.
The case will go to court next June