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Department of Justice Files Antitrust Suit Against Apple, Publishers

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Apple has found themselves in the sights of the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc., alleging that they, along with five book publishers, took part in e-book price fixing.

The government filed the suit on Wednesday morning in Manhattan federal court.

Apple, along with Macmillan, Penguin Group, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, are alleged by the DOJ to have taken part in a deal which would remove price competition from e-books and give Apple a reported 30 percent cut of each e-book they sell.

A settlement has reportedly been reached with Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins, but the suit against the other publishers will continue for now.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 15 state attorneys general also charged Apple and the three publishers with the antitrust case.

The States’ antitrust action comes following a two-year investigation led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and coordinated by the offices of the Connecticut Attorney General and the U.S. DOJ.

They reportedly found that the aforementioned publishers conspired to artificially raise prices by imposing a distribution model in which bestseller prices were set at $12.99 and $14.99.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office alleges that customers have paid more than $100 million in overcharges.

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