US antitrust lawyers filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. and two publishers, alleging they conspired to inflate the price of e-books, at an estimated cost to readers of $100 million.
Antitrust lawyers at the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday charging Apple Inc., and two of the nation’s largest book publishers with conspiring to artificially inflate the price of e-books.
The antitrust suit was filed in federal court in New York, where three other publishers agreed to settle the same charges.
In an alleged plot that could easily rival best-selling tales published by the defendant companies, prosecutors say the five book publishers conspired over a four-year period with Apple in an attempt to force online retail giant Amazon to stop charging a deeply discounted $9.99 for new e-books.
Estimates are that the alleged plot cost readers $100 million in inflated e-book prices.
“During regular, near-quarterly meetings, we allege that publishing company executives discussed confidential business and competitive matters – including Amazon’s e-book retailing practices – as part of a conspiracy to raise, fix, and stabilize retail prices,” Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters in Washington.
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