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What the e-book scandal means for Apple

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(Read caption) An Apple retail store in Carlsbad, California.

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Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed a complaint in US District Court against Apple and five major publishers. The DOJ says Apple and the publishers conspired to raise the prices of e-books by as much as $5 – a move allegedly intended to prevent Amazon from locking in the price of e-books at 10 bucks. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster agreed immediately to settle. Penguin, MacMillan and Apple will likely fight on. 

So hey, what does this mean for Apple? (We should make clear here that Apple has not officially signaled its strategy vis-a-vis the DOJ, but until we know otherwise, we're assuming that Apple – like Penguin and MacMillan – has no intention of backing down.) 

Well, for one, it could bruise Apple.

"Apple does hurt itself when it thumbs its nose at the courts, the American system, and that could hurt it," Jeffrey Durgee, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, told US News and World Reports this week. Apple's "brand personality," he added is that of "a maverick, but not outside the law." 


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