Apple reaffirms fight against e-book antitrust case

In a new court filing, Apple slams the Department of Justice's case against it point by point, saying it's "fundamentally flawed."

Apple DOJ

Apple this week once again took aim at the antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the Department of Justice, arguing that its entry into the e-book market improved competition.

That argument -- which the company included in a statement last month -- was outlined further in a court document filed yesterday.

In it, Apple claims its e-book business strategy, which employs the agency model, is "well-recognized as perfectly proper," and that it had not conspired with other companies to set prices or limit competition.

"The Government's Complaint against Apple is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law," Apple said in the filing, which was picked up by Reuters today. "Apple has not 'conspired' with anyone, was not aware of any alleged 'conspiracy' by others, and never 'fixed prices.'"

Last month the Justice Department sued Apple along with five of the six largest book publishers in the U.S., accusing them of conspiring to set e-book prices, and working together to break Amazon's hold on the market with its Kindle e-book reader.

Three of the five publishers have already settled with the Justice Department, including News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS, which publishes CNET).

Pearson's Penguin Group and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck's Macmillan Publishers remain holdouts alongside Apple. All three filed motions in a federal district court in New York to dismiss the case, requests that were thrown out last week.

Apple's attorneys last month said they want the case to "be decided on the merits," adding that it "is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that."

In its filing yesterday, which provides rebuttals to numerous claims made in the original Justice Department complaint, Apple said its entry into the e-book market was "classic procompetitive conduct," and that the Justice Department's case "sends the wrong message to the market," and any would-be competitors.

 

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