Report: DOJ to sue Apple this week over fixed eBook pricing allegation

The U.S. Department of Justice will sue Apple as early as tomorrow morning over allegations of fixing eBook prices with five major publishers, according to Reuters. The five publishers, which are also in question, will be looked at later in the week.

The Justice Department is investigating alleged price-fixing by Apple and five major publishers: CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, Pearson and Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH.

A lawsuit against Apple, one of the parties not in negotiations with the Justice Department for a potential settlement, could come as early as Wednesday but no final decision has been made, the people said.

The news of a lawsuit comes just weeks after the Department of Justice launched a probe into Apple and the five publishers. We will keep you updated with any more news about this case. Read more

Apple looking to launch iTunes Store, App Store overhauls later this year

In a move that will surely keep the Mac and iPhone maker on top of the digital music and software application industry, Apple is preparing its first iTunes Store redesign in nearly three years. In late 2009, Apple launched a new iTunes Store that traded in a blue-themed, convoluted store for a much simpler, white-themed store that provides a great focus on the store’s downloadable content.

The redesign of the iTunes Store that runs on both the iTunes application for the Mac and the PC is a top priority for Apple. The work on the redesign comes soon after the launch of new services in the United States such as the Spotify music streaming service and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store. Apple dominates the majority of the digital music market, and it will continue to bet on an in-application download store and not an online store found only in a web browser.

The new design is said to be even simpler and more user-friendly than the current design. Apple is working on ways to enhance the speed and efficiency of finding new content, such as songs, videos, and applications. The cornerstone element of Apple’s new iTunes Store is interactivity. As Apple vaguely explained to a number of music labels and entertainment partners, Apple is looking to make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience. Read on for more…

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State of the Union guestlist likely indicates that Steve Jobs will be discussed

Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple cofounder and former CEO Steve Jobs, is among the attendees of the State of the Union address scheduled for 9 p.m. tonight (live stream here). According to the official guest list, the White House invited Powell Jobs, along with other distinguished individuals, to attend the State of the Union address, including billionaire Warren Buffett’s secretary Debbie Bosanek, cancer survivor Adam Rapp, and Mark Kelly, former astronaut and husband of outgoing Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The news becomes interesting knowing the White House usually invites people that have something to do with a proposal or initiative the President will outline in the address. Powell Jobs may have been invited for her focus on education, the arts and women’s human rights.

Vanguard has it that Obama will welcome Powell Jobs to his State of the Union address out of respect for her late husband. According to the White House, Powell Jobs will watch Obama’s speech from First Lady Michelle Obama’s box in the House of Representatives. In December of last year, Obama gave Jobs’ widow a seat on the White House Council for Community Solutions. Chaired by former Gates Foundation CEO Patty Stonesifer, the body advises the President on job creation and social issues. eBay CEO John Donahoe and singer Jon Bon Jovi are also among the members.

Powell Jobs’ ties in education could also prove key, as education is allegedly one of key focus areas of tonight’s State of the Union address. Let’s not forget that Apple held an education-focused media event last week, debuting digital textbooks on the iPad priced at $14.99 or less and a free tool that lets anyone create and publish digital textbooks to iBookstore. In just three days, more than 350,000 copies of digital textbooks were downloaded from the store. Oh, and Obama is an avid fan of Apple’s tablet.

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Apple posts new iTunes U help resources

Apple created a new section on its website dedicated to the enhanced iTunes U service that was updated during last week’s education announcement. The new web-based resources available at www.apple.com/support/itunes-u contain a wealth of information and how-to topics for educators to implement the new iTunes U digital features into their workflow. Specifically, training course are available for iTunes U Public Site Manager and iTunes U Course Manager, as well as various guides on publishing on iTunes U. Educators and students can also learn about creating different types of educational content, such as audio recordings, video clips, and interactive presentations.

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Global Equities Research: iBooks Textbooks downloaded 350,000 times in three days

According to Global Equities Research (via AllThingsD), the new inexpensive digital textbooks Apple launched last Thursday at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City was downloaded over 350,000 times in just three days. iBooks Author, a new free of charge Mac tool to author iBooks Textbooks, saw 90,000 downloads in the same period. This data is not official and is derived from the investment firm’s proprietary tracking system that monitors Apple’s iBook sales.

Global Equities Research’s Trip Chowdhry said the numbers could be deciphered as “a recipe for Apple’s success in the textbook industry.” Apple’s new digital textbooks are priced at $14.99 or less and are available from several launch partners, including Pearson, McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and DK Publishing.

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