A US judge today set a trial date for the US government’s lawsuit that accuses Apple and book publishers of conspiracy to fix the price of e-books. The case will begin June 3, 2013 and is based in part on antitrust charges, with the US Justice Department claiming that Apple colluded with five book publishers to artificially inflate electronic book prices in early 2010, when Apple was releasing the iPad.
The government complaint references Amazon’s then-standard policy of selling e-books for $10 per book, and then quotes Steve Jobs as offering publishers a way to boost those prices, to “create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99.”
Apple, of course, argues that it did nothing of the sort, claiming that no price fixing was involved or intended. It further proposes that its own e-book system has powered the current demand for e-books as well as its competitor’s improved technology through competition, the opposite of monopoly.
Publishers Macmillan and Penguin Group are also fighting the antitrust suit, while HarperCollins, CBS Corp, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette Book Group have settled the case out of court with the Justice Department.
For those of you interested in following along at home, the case is officially named “In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-2293.”