US government sues Apple in eBook price-fixing antitrust suit

Bloomberg is reporting that the United States has filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New York district court against Apple and publishers Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster over alleged eBook price-fixing. The news follows reports from Reuters yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice was preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers accused of colluding to fix and increase the price of eBooks.

According to the report, all the parties named in the suit—except Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple— are willing to settle to avoid legal costs. The Department of Justice could announce “unspecified” settlements as early as today.

At the core of the settlement discussions is the agency model introduced with the iPad in 2010. The deal with publishers was described by Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway…. They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

The model allows publishers to set their own prices as long as Apple gets a 30 percent cut and a guarantee that the same content is not offered lower elsewhere, but the Department of Justice is trying to return to Amazon’s wholesale model by giving retailers like Amazon control over pricing. Bloomberg explained: Read more

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

iTunes updates authorized Steve Jobs biography with price and new cover

The official Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, which is now set for the November 21 release, has been available for pre-order on Amazon for a while and Apple’s iBooks store also had an entry and meta data in place, but without a price and sporting the old cover, depicted below. A tipster told us (thanks, Roshan Z.) that iTunes now lists the book for pre-order for $17 (or 13 quid, above), also featuring the new cover by Albert Watson and the official description from publisher Simon & Schuster, as evident in the updated iTunes listing on the web.

Interesting that Amazon has also updated the blurb, but they still show wrong publication date (the original release date of March 6, 2012) and incorrect tittle, “Steve Jobs: A Biography” as opposed to just “Steve Jobs” (the original, rather painful title, was “iSteve: The Book of Jobs”). The online retailer has a $19.50 price tag for the hardcover, which makes it a much better deal for those preferring a dead tree version – $2.50 more compared to the digital download over at the  iBooks store. iTunes already has nine “reviews” from fans eagerly awaiting this high-profile release. Also find two screenshot for the iPhone below the fold.

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Early biography publication “not related to any decline” in Steve Jobs’s health (BONUS: front and back cover detailed)


Image courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Click for larger.

The official Steve Jobs biography, which is based on forty interviews and set for publication by Simon & Schuster November 21, sports the memorable front cover shot depicting Apple’s leader touching his guru-like beard, his eyes piercing intensely at the camera and eyebrows slightly lifted as if he is imagining Apple’s next big thing. That image, also found on Apple’s recently revamped PR website under the Apple Leadership section, is the Albert Watson portrait taken in 2009, author Walter Isaacson revealed in a private email exchange with Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt. The back cover?

The back is a Norman Seeff portrait of him in the lotus position holding the original Macintosh, which ran in Rolling Stone in January 1984. The title font is Helvetica. It will look as you see it, with no words on the back cover.

More important to Apple fans, the earlier than expected book launch – which had been originally pinpointed for March 6, 2012 – has nothing to do with the state of Steve Jobs’s health, Isaacson told Fortune’s Elmer-DeWitt. Apple’s boss has gone on an indefinite sick leave in January 2011, his third health-related leave of absence from the company he co-founded. Here’s from Isaacson:

It’s actually not related to any decline. I turned most of the book in this past June. It’s now all done and edited. The March 2012 date (or whatever date it was) was never a deeply-considered pubdate. Like the original cover design, it came about because the publisher wanted to put something in the database last spring.

This is obviously an important tidbit for Apple fans concerned about Steve’s well-being. Go past the fold for the publisher’s long description of the book.  The book is available for Pre-Order at Amazon for $20.

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Amazon/iBookStore post pre-releases of iSteve authorized biography: The Book of Jobs

Amazon today lists the Walter Issacson authorized Biography of Steve Jobs, the one commissioned by the Apple CEO last year.  Issacson will have had three years of access to the normally reclusive Steve Jobs.  Listed at 448 pages, the book will be published by Simon & Schuster.

Product Description

From bestselling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In iSteve: The Book of Jobs, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs’ professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs’ family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, iSteve is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

About the Author

Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and ofKissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

Before you get too excited however, the book doesn’t ship for nine months (March 2012). But even so, it will likely be a big hit and as you know with iPads, it is good to get in early.

The iBookstore has a placeholder as well:

Full Res book cover below:

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