Apple Responds to DOJ eBook Lawsuit; Penguin, Macmillan in for the Long Haul
April 12, 2012 9:54 PM
Apple isn't going down without a fight over eBook pricing
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice formally filed a lawsuit against Apple and five book publishers, accusing the "gang" of
colluding to raise prices on eBooks
. At the time, Apple didn't bother to release a public statement regarding its role in the alleged price fixing, but Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr issued the following statement this evening to
The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.
Of the five publishers, three decided to settle (HarperCollins, the Hatchette Group, and Simon & Schuster). The other two publishers -- Penguin and MacMillan -- have decided to stick to their guns and dig in for a long fight.
In fact, John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan Publishers USA, made it clear that he feels that his company did nothing wrong. In a blog post on Wednesday, Sargent stated his case:
It is also hard to settle a lawsuit when you know you have done no wrong. The government’s charge is that Macmillan’s CEO colluded with other CEO’s in changing to the agency model. I am Macmillan’s CEO and I made the decision to move Macmillan to the agency model. After days of thought and worry, I made the decision on January 22nd, 2010 a little after 4:00 AM, on an exercise bike in my basement. It remains the loneliest decision I have ever made, and I see no reason to go back on it now.
Other publishers have chosen to settle. That is their decision to make.
For its part, Penguin Group CEO John Makinson also issued a statement regarding its decision to take the issue to court:
A responsible company does not choose a path of litigation with US Government agencies without carefully weighing the implications of that course of action. Nonetheless, countless hours discussing this issue with colleagues here at Penguin, as well as with our parent company, Pearson plc, have not led any of us to the view that we should settle this matter. Indeed, alone among the publishers party to the investigations that resulted in today's announcements, we have held no settlement discussions with the DOJ or the states.
We have held strongly to this view for two, and only two, reasons. The first is that we have done nothing wrong. The decisions that we took, many them of them costly and difficult, were taken by Penguin alone…
The second, and equally powerful, reason for our decision to place this matter in the hands of a court is that we believed then, as we do now, that the agency model is the one that offers consumers the prospect of an open and competitive market for e-books.
This is likely to be a long and drawn out battle, and
given how stubborn Apple can be at times
, it likely won't go down without a fight -- after all, it has
plenty of money to burn through
in a drawn-out legal fight.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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