Apple wants a trial in e-book case, report says

April 19, 2012

Apple is spoiling for a fight with the Justice Department, following charges that the technology giant worked with publishers to fix the prices of e-books.

In court Wednesday, Apple lawyer Daniel Floyd told a federal judge in New York, that the company would like to see the case go to trial, Reuters reported.

Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits,” Floyd reportedly told judge Denise Cote. “We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that.”

Apple said in a statement last week that the “DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true.”

The Justice Department case asserts that Apple and five publishers — Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette — colluded to raise the price of e-books by giving publishers, not retailers, the power over pricing. According to the Justice Department complaint, e-book prices rose an average of $2 to $3 per book in the span of three days in 2010 as a consequence of the deal. The Washington Post reported that the government believes the deal overcharged American consumers by millions of dollars.

Macmillan and Penguin have said that they will also fight the charges; the other publishers announced they had settled with the Justice Department earlier this month.

A group of 15 states and Puerto Rico announced April 11 they would seek also seek action against the publishers. According to the Reuters report, HarperCollins lawyer Shepard Goldfein said that if all 50 states settle, it could affect a separate class action lawsuit brought by consumers seeking restitution for the price changes.

Hachette and HarperCollins have settled with the group of states, led by the attorneys general of Connecticut and Texas. A lawyer for Simon & Schuster said in court that it is in negotiations to join that settlement.

Related stories:

What’s Apple’s best defense in e-books antitrust case?

Apple denies Justice charges, says they’re “not true”

Justice Department sues Apple, publishers over e-book prices

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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