US Sues Apple For Ebook Pricing

Apr 17, 2012

According to Bloomberg LP, antitrust lawyers said that Apple will need to prove it came to separate ebook price arrangements with each of the five publishing companies named in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Amazon claims the lion's share of the U.S. digital book market with about 60% market share, followed by Barnes & Noble with about 30%, and Apple with about 10%, according to Bloomberg, citing Mark Harding, an analyst at JMP Securities, part of JMP Group, Inc. Bloomberg notes that Amazon shares are little changed since the Justice Department filed suit on April 11, while Barnes & Noble shares have fallen almost 10%. "Apple shares have declined almost 7 percent amid speculation that demand for the iPad may wane," reports Bloomberg.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is presiding over pretrial proceedings for a group of at least 27 antitrust suits. The suits have been filed by private parties against Apple and the publishers. The case is U.S. v. Apple, 12-cv-2826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.


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Consumers may have been furious (and vocal) about an April settlement that allowed three publishers - HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette - to settle out of court in regards to an antitrust lawsuit brought against several publishers and Apple for allegedly "price-fixing" ebooks, but that doesn't seem to bother the DOJ. Many people who filed comments with the U.S. District Court in New York have criticized the DOJ for essentially giving Amazon a leg up in the ebook market by taking on its competitors.