Lawsuit Accuses Apple of e-Book Price Fixing

Kara Reeder

According to Computerworld, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a Seattle law firm, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of engaging in e-book price fixing with five top publishers. The publishers are HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster.

 

The suit claims that due to concerns over Amazon's discounted pricing, Apple worked with the publishers to increase e-book prices so that customers would not come to expect lower prices. Steve Berman, managing director at Hagens Berman, says:

We intend to prove that Apple needed a way to neutralize Amazon's Kindle before its popularity could challenge the upcoming introduction of the iPad, a device Apple intended to compete as an e-reader.

According to the complaint, the five publishing houses forced Amazon to allow them to set prices by denying Amazon access to titles if it tried to sell e-books below the publisher prices. Berman calls Apple "the catalyst to all of this."

 

The suit is seeking damages and an injunction against pricing e-books through publishers, as well as forfeiture of any profits received by the defendants due to price fixing.



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