Apple To Justice Department: E-Book Antitrust? WTF?!?

Apple To Justice Department: E-Book Antitrust? WTF?!?

With the U.S. Department of Justice gearing up to slap Apple with an antitrust lawsuit, the Cupertino company has spoken out over claims it has teamed up with publishers to raise the price of e-books, and downplayed the threat from Amazon’s Kindle. It argues that it gave publishers the opportunity to set their own prices, and that it cannot be blamed for e-book price hikes.

Apple claims it was inexperienced when it stepped into the e-book market, which Amazon already dominated with 90% of the marketshare, and that it had no incentive to raise prices. It acknowledges the accusation that its actions delayed Amazon’s move into the tablet market, but insists that they are not true, and that it had no need to fight the Kindle with increased e-book prices. The iPad, Apple argues, was all it needed:

… if Amazon was a “threat” that needed to be squelched by means of an illegal conspiracy, why would Apple offer Amazon’s Kindle app on the iPad? Why would Apple conclude that conspiring to force Amazon to no longer lose money on eBooks would cripple Amazon’s competitive fortunes? And why would Apple perceive the need for an illegal solution to the “Kindle threat” when it had an obvious and lawful one which it implemented – namely, introducing a multipurpose device (the iPad) whose marketing and sales success was not centered on eBook sales?

Despite its claims, it doesn’t look good for Apple at the moment. The U.S. Department of Justice is about to file a formal lawsuit against the company and a number of publishers that have worked with Apple. However, recent rumors have claimed that some of those publishers may be in talks with the Justice Department to reach a settlement, which could see them providing evidence of the conspiracy.

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  • brandoncozart

    did they miss the part where Apple lowered the price of textbooks from $100+ to $15???

  • Dilbert A

    OK, you and Ryan are kicking ass on the titles today.

  • MacHead84

    Thats a wild misrepresentation of reality and probably a down right falsehood. Probably about 1/10th of 1 percent of textbook users use Apples new eTextbooks. And the majority of those are Below the college level. High school and below paperbooks never cost 100 per book or anywhere remotely close to it. Not to mention this investigation is not about textbooks which are sold to a tiny percent of the population compared to New York Times Best Sellers which are sold to a large percentage of the population. You’re looking at the world thru Apple colored sun glasses and blind to the reality that price fixing of eBooks is very much real.

  • Christopher Robert

    Never mind that Medicare has been doing the same thing for quite some time and getting worse. That’s why our premiums continually go up! IDIOTS!

  • davester13

    The difference is $50-$100 for a book that can be used for a number of years in a row, by an unlimited number of students, versus $15/per student through Apple.  Every student needs to pay $15 for each book.

    This is very much a price INCREASE for the book sellers, not a discount.

  • brandoncozart

    “High school and below paperbooks never cost 100 per book or anywhere remotely close to it.”

    False. Pearson’s High School Biology textbook sells on Amazon for $76.31. Add the Workbook and Lab Manual, all of which can be built in to the new iBooks format, and you’re at $104.98.

    in iBooks, it sells for $14.99.

    McGraw Hill’s High School Geometry book retails for $101.14. 

    in iBooks, it sells for $14.99.

  • brandoncozart

    not necessarily. let’s take the Pearson and McGraw Hill books mentioned above, for example.

    McGraw Hill’s Geometry book retails for $101.14. if you say the average class size is 30 students, 30 books will cost $3,034.20. those books would have to be used for nearly 7 years in order for the iBooks price of $14.99 to break even with it. if you use those books for five years, which is about the average, schools will have paid $3,034.20 for the 30 paper books, but only $2,698.20 for a new class of 30 students every year for five years. so the school is saving $336 on the iBooks model.

    for the Pearson Biology book in the same scenario, the paper version amounts to $2,289.30 while the iBooks version is $2,248.50, for a savings of $40.80. modest, but savings nonetheless. and that’s only taking into account the textbook, not the lab manuals and workbooks which already have to be purchased every year.

    so in both scenarios, the iBooks model wins out. and this isn’t even bringing smaller private schools and those who homeschool into the picture. homeschool families will see HUGE savings with these new textbooks.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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