Apple set to be sued over ebook price fixing

Apple faces legal action from US officials over alleged ebook price fixing.

Apple set to be sued over ebook price fixing

According to sources close to the matter, the Department of Justice is expected to settle cases with several publishers this week and sue Apple over its role in setting prices.

The Justice Department has been investigating alleged price-fixing by Apple and five major publishers. A lawsuit against Apple, one of the parties not in negotiations over a potential settlement, is on the cards, a source close to the case said.

The Justice Department is investigating whether deals Apple cut two years ago with the quintet of major publishers – when the consumer electronics maker launched its iPad – were done with the intent of propping up prices for digital books, the sources said.

As part of those agreements, publishers shifted to a model that allowed them to set the price of ebooks and give Apple a 30% cut of sales, the sources said.

Talks between the Justice Department and some publishers have been ongoing, with settlements expected as soon as this week, one of the two sources familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

A negotiated settlement is expected to eliminate Apple’s so-called “most favoured nation” status, which had prevented the publishers from selling lower-priced ebooks through rival retailers such as or Barnes & Noble.

Apple declined to comment, while the Justice Department and five publishers could not be reached for comment.

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