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Apple last man standing in e-book price-fixing case

09 Feb 2013
Apple iBooks 2

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has settled with yet another publisher in a deal which leaves Apple as the lone defendant in an e-book price-fixing case.

The DoJ said that it had agreed to a settlement with publishing house Macmillan to avoid going to court on charges of anticompetitive behaviour.

Under the terms of the deal, Macmillan will agree not to impose any restrictions on e-book prices set by retailers and download services. Additionally, the company will be barred from entering into any retail agreements which would include restrictions on pricing and promotions.

"As a result of today's settlement, Macmillan has agreed to immediately allow retailers to lower the prices consumers pay for Macmillan’s e-books," said DoJ antitrust division counsel and chief of staff Jamillia Ferris.

"Just as consumers are already paying lower prices for the e-book versions of many of Hachette's, HarperCollins' and Simon & Schuster’s new releases and best sellers, we expect the prices of many of Macmillan's e-books will also decline."

The DoJ filed the suit early last year on alleging a group of publishers worked with Apple to set fixed prices on e-books. The DoJ alleged that by agreeing to Apple's revenue model, publishers were able to force other e-book retail services into adopting similar models and raising the price of e-books for consumers.

The settlement leaves Apple as the lone defendant in the case. Four publishers which had been included in the case had earlier brokered similar deals with the DoJ.

The DoJ said that barring a settlement it plans to begin its trial with Apple in March of this year.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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