Apple has finally issued an official comment regarding the US Justice Department’s antitrust suit against them regarding allegations that they conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told Peter Kafka of All Things D:
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.
The DOJ’s initial suit included Apple and 5 publishers, 3 of whom (HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster) all decided to settle. Apple, MacMilan, and the Penguin Group, however, chose not to and will fight the US in court.
Interestingly, legal experts have weighed in on the suit saying that the DOJ will have a tough case to make pinning an antitrust verdict on Apple. As far as they can tell, the extent of the “collusion” was to use an agency model, not to automatically raise prices. I, for one, find it interesting that Apple is at the heart of this investigation when Amazon is the company that holds a monopoly in the e-book market.