US sues Apple, publishers over electronic books

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and book publishers Wednesday, saying the publishers conspired with Apple to raise retail electronic-book prices to limit competition.

The government also filed papers in U.S. District Court in Manhattan saying it had reached a settlement with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. It will proceed with its lawsuit against Apple and other publishers, including Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group.

The lawsuit said the effort was a response to the success Amazon.com had in selling e-books for just under $10. The alleged conspiracy came as Apple was preparing to launch the iPad and called for Apple to be guaranteed a 30 percent commission on each e-book it sold, the lawsuit said.

“To effectuate their conspiracy, the publisher defendants teamed up with defendant Apple, which shared the same goal of restraining retail price competition in the sale of e-books,” the lawsuit said.

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