Photo: Ronnie Pitman (Flickr)
Attorney General Greg Zoeller says Indiana has joined 30 other states in the antitrust lawsuit against Apple. The suit also names two publishing giants Macmillan and Penguin.
Zoeller says the suit alleges the trio conspired to raise the prices of electronic books or e-books – a move that violates state and federal antitrust laws. Zoeller says price fixing eliminates competition which hurts consumers.
“We‘re really seeing that the way they manipulated the market is really a lose lose for both consumers and the marketplace,” he says.
The suit follows a two-year federal probe. The investigation claims Apple and others conspired to shift distribution models to allow publishers to set prices and sell e-books directly to customers.
“It could be a long court battle,” Zoeller says. “There are difficulties in proving price fixing and anti-competitive behavior, but there have been a number ofother publishers that have agreed to change their practices and to settle.”
The probe says the shift would have allowed the trio to raise the prices of best sellers from $12.99 to $14.99. The complaint says Apple and others used contract language that forced e-book retailers to sell products at the same prices. The move allegedly gave Apple a 30-percent commission on books sold through its iBookstore.
The suit alleges e-book customers paid more than $100 million in overcharges. The complaint still needs the approval of US District Court in New York. Zoeller says there have been other publishers who have already settled and that may also turn out to be the case with Apple.