Apple Denies Steve Jobs Fixed E-Book Prices

Dennis Faas's picture

Last month the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) announced it was suing Apple and major publishers like Penguin and Macmillan for fixing the price of electronic books, or e-books.

It has taken some time, but Apple has now responded to that suit by denying any involvement in e-book price fixing.

In April, the DoJ said that Apple and at least five publishers colluded to increase the price of electronic books, starting in early 2010. The DoJ dated the beginning of this collusion to roughly the same time the Cupertino, California-based technology firm was preparing to launch its now very popular iPad tablet.

DoJ: Steve Jobs Central to Price Fixing Scheme

Until that time, Amazon had sold e-books for its Kindle e-reader at a rate of $9.99 and up. The DoJ says that rate was too low for Apple chairman and co-founder Steve Jobs. He allegedly began working with publishers to increase the typical price point of e-books.

According to some, Jobs' target price for e-books was $12.99 and up, roughly a 30 per cent increase over established pricing.

Apple outright denies any and all charges that it worked with publishers to fix the prices of electronic books.

The company states that the United States government's antitrust lawsuit is "fundamentally flawed," and could potentially hurt the e-book market by discouraging competition. (Source:

Apple Says Its E-Book Foray Shows "Classic Procompetitive Conduct"

Apple's filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan Tuesday, May 22, 2012, claimed the company has "never conspired" and was not aware of' any price-fixing conspiracy.

It added that the release of the iPad has been good, rather than bad, for consumers by forcing rivals like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to improve the hardware in their e-readers.

"Apple's entry into e-book distribution is classic procompetitive conduct," Apple told the court. (Source:

The company also denied that the DoJ accurately portrayed Jobs' position on e-book pricing, meaning Apple believes the DoJ has invented or sensationalized the story. (Source:

Apple has powerful allies in fighting these charges. Penguin, Macmillan and other large publishing companies also deny any involvement in fixing e-book prices.

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