The conspiracy

According to this article at Computerworld, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed an anti-trust suit against Apple and the Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster. According to the DOJ complaint, they illegally colluded to keep prices high and prevent competition in the market.

Fundamentally, these actions were allegedly taken in direct response to a) changing technology for reading books and b) Amazon's positioning in the retailing field. Apple and the publishers colluded to move as a unit from the "wholesale model" (where the retailer buys the book at a wholesale price, then sells it for whatever the retailer thinks it might fetch) to an "agency model" (where the retailer is just an agent of the publisher, selling the book for whatever price the publisher thinks it should go for).

The complaint makes for interesting reading. Find it here.

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  1. I read they were going to do it today. I personally have no doubt that conspired to fix prices.

  2. Even though it was probably Apple's initiative and was actually fostering competition against Amazon, it was clearly against the letter of the law.


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