In the ongoing e-book price fixing case with the Department of Justice, in which Apple is accused of conspiring with publishers to fix eBook pricing and cut out Amazon, Apple has again responded to the DOJ’s claims detailing the “tough negotiations” it went through with publishers. To further prove its point that it was not colluding with publishers to fix e-book pricing, Apple said it “one-on-one” and “contentious negotiations” at a time when publishers were already considering methods of getting Amazon to increase pricing:
But Apple said the publishers had decided, independent of Apple, to eliminate discounts on wholesale book prices of e-books, to sell lucrative hardcover books first to bookstores in a practice called windowing and to take other measures to push Amazon to raise prices.
Each publisher had different counterproposals, Apple said in a filing that described tough negotiations in detail. “Early — and constant — points of negotiation and contention were over Apple’s price caps and 30 percent commission. After Apple sent draft agency agreements to each publisher CEO on January 11, each immediately opposed Apple’s price tiers and caps,” Apple said in its 81-page proposed findings of fact.
Apple is now the only defendant in the case filed in April 2012 as the 4 other publishers originally accused in the lawsuit, including Pearson, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins, have already reached settlements and agreed to return to their old pricing scheme for a certain period of time. The trial is now slated for June 3rd with the DOJ seeking a ruling that “Apple violated antitrust law and an order blocking it from engaging in similar conduct.”
Previously, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan granted a request from the Justice Departmenty that will force Apple CEO Tim Cook to give a four hour deposition related to the high profile ebook price-fixing lawsuit.