Apple is telling the US Department of Justice that it is its right to organise a cartel which forces users to pay more for ebooks than they need to.
The DoJ has arranged a settlement with most of the publishers who were involved in the price fixing cartel arranged by Steve Jobs. However, Apple, along with publishers Pearson and Macmillan, is reluctant to agree to terms.
It is not just the DoJ either – the European antitrust authorities are investigating possible electronic-book price-fixing, too.
It is not clear why Apple is holding out on the deal. Stubbornly hanging on to Steve Jobs’ arrangement could force an embarrassing trial and a huge anti-trust fine.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the publishers Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group want to settle.
What appears to have happened is that Apple secured contracts from five publishers about two years ago as it was launching its iPad. Jobs wanted to establish his iTunes bookstore and both he and the publishers needed to break up Amazon’s dominance in the digital book market.
The deal they worked out meant that iTunes got some top books that Amazon did not see – and that the prices were inflated.