Apple: Amazon Is DRIVING the DOJ’s E-Book Case

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has come out to say that Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) was the “driving force” behind allegations by the U.S. Justice Department that the former engaged in price fixing of e-books along with publishers.

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Apple made the comments in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, saying Amazon hosted a two-day meeting with government officials at its Seattle headquarters to discuss the investigation. Apple added that Amazon made at least 14 employees available to government investigators and was asked to turn over only a “fraction” of documents that others in the case did, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The DOJ accused Apple and several book publishers of conspiring to raise prices of e-books to higher than Amazon prices. It said that Apple, while introducing its iPad tablet, negotiated with publishers to increase prices to $12.99 or more, up from Amazon’s discounted price of $9.99. That resulted in consumers having to overpay for popular books, according to the DOJ. Three publishers — Hachette Books, Simon & Schuster (NYSE:CBS), and HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWSA) — have settled, while Penguin (NYSE:PSO) and Macmillan are still in court along with Apple.

Apple said in its filing it had never “sought to benefit from collusion.”

The Authors Guild has also supported Apple, saying that the DOJ’s proposed settlement with publishers would hurt traditional book retailers. “The proposed judgment will drive trade out of traditional bookstores and into the proprietary world of [Amazon’s] Kindle,” the body said. “Of all the possible remedies to the alleged collusion, requiring three large publishers to allow Amazon to sell e-books at a loss is among the most destructive of competition that one could imagine.”

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