Apple fights allegations of e-book price fixing

  • Apple conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books in a deal that cost customers ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’, a US court heard on Monday at the start of a civil trial into price fixing allegations.

    A government lawyer claimed the increase in prices came after the launch of the iPad in 2010.

    However, Apple fought off the accusation with its defence team stating that that government had "reverse engineered a conspiracy" by linking price rises to the tech giant.

    Apple said that it acted in its own interest when signing deals with publishers to sell e-books through its iBooks platform, adding it encouraged publishers to set their own prices instead of allowing retailers to do so.

    According to prosecutors, the move was aimed at rival Amazon that charged lower prices than Apple.

    As a result, Amazon's average price of $9.99 for a best-seller increased to $12.99 or $14.99 after the launch of the iPad.

    The Justice Department filed its case against Apple and five of the six biggest American book publishers in April 2012.

    The lawsuit accused them of conspiring to raise e-book prices in order to curb monopolization by Amazon.

    Apple is facing trial alone after the five publishers agreed to sign a settlement with the government.

    The trial is expected to last several weeks.

    Tagged as: e-book price fixing by Apple, Apple e-book price fixing, Apple e-books