Apple ebooks trial date set for 2013
A US judge has set a 2013 trial date for a lawsuit from the US government accusing Apple and publishers of conspiring to fix ebook prices.
Following a hearing in Manhattan federal court, US District Judge Denise Cote said a bench trial in the case will begin 3 June, 2013, for Apple and two publishers who are fighting the antitrust charges.
The US Justice Department sued Apple in April, saying it colluded with five publishers to boost ebook prices in early 2010, as the Silicon Valley giant was launching its popular iPad tablet.
Amazon, which makes the Kindle ereader, had long sold ebooks for as little as $9.99. The government complaint quoted Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs as wanting to offer publishers a means to boost prices, and “create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99”.
How Apple forced consumers to pay more for ebooks
Apple argues it has not conspired with anyone or fixed prices for ebooks in an effort to thwart Amazon’s dominance of that fast-growing market.
Apple says that its foray into ebooks has actually fueled demand for ebooks by forcing Amazon and rivals, including Barnes & Noble, to compete more aggressively, including by upgrading ereader technology.
The publishers Macmillan and Penguin Group are fighting the antitrust case.
HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group settled the case with the US Justice Department.
The three publishers are also on track to submit a settlement proposal to the judge by the end of the summer to resolve claims by a group of US states, lawyers for the book companies and the states said.
“I am confident that we’ll get all 50 states and six territories and common wealths to sign on” to the settlement, said Gary Becker, a Connecticut assistant Attorney General.