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Inside US lawsuit: How Apple, publishers allegedly brought Amazon to heel

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“With today’s lawsuit, we are sending a clear message that competitors, even in rapidly evolving technology industries, cannot conspire to raise prices,” added Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

“We want to undo the harm caused by the companies’ anticompetitive conduct and restore retail price competition so that consumers can pay lower prices for their e-books,” she said.

The lawsuit is the result of cooperation between the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the European Commission. The attorneys general of Connecticut, Texas, and 13 other states also played a role in the investigation.

In addition to Apple, the publishers named in the pending suit are Macmillan and Penguin Group, both based in New York City.

Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, all New York-based, have agreed to settle the lawsuit and end anticompetitive practices alleged by the government.

The alleged conspiracy revolved around the emerging market for e-books and a perceived threat to the future of the book publishing business as it presently exists.

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