Apple Responds to DOJ: Accusation of Collusion is Simply Not True

iBook Store

Apple has responded to U.S. Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit, which has accused Apple and publishers for fixing prices of e-books on the iBookstore.

Apple has issued the following statement to AllThingsD:

The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.

Antitrust experts say DOJ has much better case against publishers rather than Apple.

“It’s a harder case against Apple than the publishers,” says Geoffrey Manne, who teaches antitrust law at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon and runs the International Center for Law and Economics. 

One reason lies in the Justice Department’s 36-page complaint, which recounts how publishers met over breakfast in a London hotel and dinners at Manhattan’s posh Picholine restaurant, which boasts a “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator magazine. The key point is that Apple wasn’t present.

As CNET points out, though some publishers have settled, it may also be difficult for DOJ to prove that publishers violated antitrust laws, if all they did at the meeting was to agree that Apple’s agency model was better than Amazon’s wholesale model.