Apple, Penguin, Macmillan file responses to antitrust lawsuits
May 30, 2012 | 11:20 pm
A week after its previous filing, concerning the Department of Justice antitrust case and settlement, Apple has made another filing—this one relating to the antitrust/price-fixing class action that 31 states have brought against it. (It was a little confusing; I actually had to look up the two filings and compare them before I figured out what was what.)
In this filing, Apple insists that it made separate, not-identical contracts with the publishers, and that apart from generating revenue the iBookstore was also intended to “avoid negative margins that it believed Amazon was incurring as it sold certain bestselling eBooks below cost.” It also insists that the class action shouldn’t go forward because publishers are already settling some of the claims with state governments. (Found via PaidContent.)
Meanwhile, Penguin and Macmillan have filed 74-page (PDF) and 26-page (PDF) responses, respectively, to the Department of Justice suit in which they and Apple are the sole hold-outs against settling. The responses say pretty much what you would expect them to: Amazon is the monopolist, the publishers implemented agency pricing independently, and the government does not have any direct evidence that a conspiracy took place. (Found via the New York Times.)
Macmillan points out that some of the discussions allegedly involving “conspiracy” had to do with a joint venture between Penguin and two of the settling publishers, Bookish, and that since the government hasn’t named Bookish in the suit or attempted to have it dissolved, it must accept it as a legitimate organization.
So far, we’ve just seen a basic legal restatement of positions that have already been uttered time and again in interviews with the media and so forth. I look forward to when rulings actually start coming out. Could be interesting times!