Apple accused of e-book price-fixing
The US government has accused Apple of working with publishers in 2009 to set prices in an effort to compete in the e-book market dominated by Amazon.
The US Department of Justice alleges that Apple agreed with publishers that they should set the price of e-books, rather than allowing individual retailers to do so – a system known as the "agency model".
Prosecutors claim this allowed Apple to take a percentage of sales made through its iBooks platform. They allege that this practice prevented Amazon from charging lower prices.
Five publishers – Penguin, Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster – originally named as defendants alongside Apple have already reached settlements in which they agreed to terminate their e-book agreements with Apple.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook recently dismissed the idea of a settlement with the government. "We didn't do anything wrong there," he said. "We're going to fight."
The following quote from Steve Jobs' official biography was cited by the US Department of Justice:
"We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway."
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