After the U.S. Department of Justice filed antitrust charges against Apple and five major publishers earlier this week, Apple has hit back and defended its position. It claims the iBookstore has fostered innovation and competition, and more importantly, broken Amazon’s “monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.”
Just like the App Store, Apple allows iBook publishers to set their own prices, which they previously couldn’t do for Amazon’s Kindle Store. The Justice Department’s accusation of a price hiking scheme, Apple says, “is simply not true.” In a statement to AllThingsD, the Cupertino company said:
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.
Three of the five publishers named in the suit — HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster — signed settlements with the Justice Department almost immediately after the suit was filed on Wednesday morning. However, the other two — Penguin Group and MacMillan — have issued responses similar to Apple’s.
Some experts believe that the Justice Department has a much better case against the book publishers than it does against Apple.
Geoffrey Manne, who teaches antitrust law at the Lewis and Clark Law School in Oregon and runs the International Center for Law and Economics, told CNET that “it’s a harder case against Apple than the publishers.” While Richard Epstein, professor of law at New York University, said: “It will take some time to hear the whole story, but the betting here is that this lawsuit is a mistake.”
What do you think of Apple’s response?