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DOJ likely to lose eBook antitrust suit against Apple

Dan Graziano
April 12th, 2012 at 12:05 PM

The United States Department of Justice is likely to lose its antitrust lawsuit targeting Apple and book publishers, according to a report from CNET. A number of legal experts agree that the case against the Cupertino-based company isn’t as strong as the one against publishers. The DOJ “has a far better case against the publishers than Apple,” said Dominick Armentano, professor and author of Antitrust and Monopoly. “If the CEOs of the various publishers got together in hotel rooms to discuss prices, they are sunk” and might as well settle, he said. Within the 36-page complaint, the Justice Department recounts how publishers met over breakfast in a London hotel and during dinners at a Manhattan restaurant to discuss price-fixing. Apple did not attend those meetings, however.

The Cupertino-based company did agree to allow some of the top book publishers to set their own prices in Apple’s iBookstore. Since then, prices have risen and other online retailers such as Amazon have been under pressure from publishers to raise their discounted prices as well. The DOJ claims Apple struck arrangements with Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group and Macmillan in an attempt to control prices.

While the three other companies have decided to settle the case out of court, Penguin Group, Macmillan and Apple have chosen to fight the suit.

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