Apple has responded (http://macte.ch/ae31l) to the electronic books antitrust in which it’s involved. Among other things the filing says:
“Apple admits that eBook sales have increased rapidly since November 2007,
when Amazon released the Kindle, but denies that the Kindle ‘revolutionized the book publishing industry.’ Apple lacks sufficient information and belief to admit or deny whether there are ‘major’ economic advantages to eBook technology or whether eBook distribution costs are ‘massively’ lower than those associated with ‘brick-and-mortar publishing.’ Apple admits that there are costs associated with print books that are not present with eBooks. Apple specifically denies that it ‘decided free market competition should not be allowed to work’.”
Furthermore, “Apple admits that publicly and privately in their individual discussions with Apple, representatives of each of the publishers separately expressed varying degrees of unhappiness with Amazon’s tactics, including its pricing. Apple further admits that Amazon is the dominant eBook retailer and wields ‘market power’ over eBooks.”
Apple is rejecting charges that it conspired to fix prices of electronic books, calling the U.S. government’s antitrust lawsuit a “fundamentally flawed” endeavor that could discourage competition and harm consumers, reports “Reuters” (http://macte.ch/NAzQq).
In a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan this month, Apple said it didn’t conspire with anyone or fix prices for e-books to thwart Amazon’s dominance of that market, the article adds. In fact, the company says its entry into the book market has actually fueled demand for ebooks by forcing Amazon and rivals, including Barnes & Noble Inc, to compete more aggressively, including by upgrading e-reader technology.
In April the United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in New York district court, claiming collusion over ebook pricing. Apple and Macmillan, which have refused to engage in settlement talks with the Justice Department, deny they colluded to raise prices for digital books.
The brouhaha centers on Apple’s move to change the way that publishers charged for e-books as it prepared to introduce its first iPad in 2010. Traditionally, publishers sold books to retailers for roughly half of the recommended cover price.
Under that “wholesale model,” booksellers were then free to offer those books to customers for less than the cover price if they wished.
Apple suggested moving to an “agency model,” under which the publishers would set the price of the book and Apple would take a 30% cut. However, Apple also insisted that publishers couldn’t let rival retailers sell the same book at a lower price.