The U.S. Justice Department sued Apple Wednesday, alleging the technology giant and five major publishers conspired to push up the prices of e-books and limit retail price competition.
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, alleges and the publishers had a common interest in fighting Amazon.com’s practice of selling e-books for as little as $9.99, and decided to work together to raise prices.
Apple and the publishers reached an agreement where retail price competition would cease, retail e-books prices would increase significantly and Apple would be guarantee a 30 percent “commission” on each e-book sold, according to a court document detailing the lawsuit and published on The Wall Street Journal’s website.
The conspiracy has caused e-book consumers to pay “tens of millions of dollars more for e-books than they otherwise would have paid,” the Justice Department said.
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