Apple subpoenas Amazon for interviews in e-book suit

The legal tit-for-tat continues in the e-book pricing lawsuit as Apple subpoenas Amazon for interviews it had with the Department of Justice -- and Amazon attempts to quash the subpoena.

Apple is on the offensive again in the e-book pricing lawsuit. A subpoena issued by the tech giant in July has just surfaced and demands that the Department of Justice turn over interviews it conducted with Amazon employees for the suit, according to Paid Content.

The subpoena asks for "transcripts and exhibits" and a "list of individuals interviewed" by the DOJ in depositions.

To recap the case: in an antitrust lawsuit filed in April , federal prosecutors accused Apple and five book publishers of conspiring to artificially hike prices. At the time, Amazon was selling e-books much closer to their wholesale price. In its complaint, the DOJ alleged that the publishers feared that Amazon's pricing strategy would drive out competition and hand control of the e-book market to Amazon.

Three book publishers -- HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS, which publishes CNET) -- cut a deal with the government to settle allegations that the book publishers had colluded with Apple to fix the price of e-books. The Justice Department also said that Apple and the other two publishers, Macmillan and Penguin, had opted to fight the charges. This trial is set to take place next June.

Apple, which denied the Justice Department's allegations, said the publishers' settlement unfairly impacts Apple and would be "irreversible."

The tech company filed the subpoena in a Washington state court. According to Paid Content, Apple alleges that Amazon met with the government several times during the investigation, along with hosting a two-day meeting at its headquarters in Seattle. It's unclear if this is the information that Apple is seeking.

Amazon has since tried to quash the subpoena in Seattle federal court. And Apple is attempting to transfer the motion to the Southern District of New York for ruling by Judge Denise Cote, who is assigned to the overall DOJ e-book pricing case. According to Paid Content, Judge Cote said she will "promptly address the discovery dispute" if the motion is transferred.

CNET contacted Apple and Amazon for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

 

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