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.