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Collusion “simply not true”, says Apple

by Brad Spirrison

The standoff between Apple, major book publishers, and the U.S. Justice Department is becoming a real page-turner.

Responding to allegations that Apple was colluding with five publishers - Penguin Group, MacMillan, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster - Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the following, according to All Things Digital:

The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.

Already, three of the publishers - HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster - have settled with the government, while Penguin Group and MacMillan have issued similar responses as Apple.

Earlier this year, Apple announced aggressive plans to alter the textbook industry, selling titles on iBooks 2 for as little as $15.

A Wall Street Journal article earlier this week speculated whether Apple would even remain in the eBooks business if pressure persists, noting analyst assessments that “Apple's e-book market share is small and immaterial to its business.”

Consumers should take note that eBooks would still be available on the iPad from third-party apps, including Kindle.

There will no doubt be further chapters in this saga.