Apple CEO: We rejected DOJ settlement in e-book suit

With an impending trial in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook maintains that the company had nothing to do with facilitating a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
As the chief of the last company standing in the upcoming lawsuit over e-book price fixing, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday that the company never had any plans to settle with the government.

"We're not going to sign something that says we did something that we didn't do, so we're going to fight," Cook said during an interview at the D11 conference on Tuesday.

He noted that Apple rejected a settlement because it was asked to sign a document that said it did something wrong. Cook said he didn't think Apple did anything wrong in that matter.

The Justice Department filed the antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five book publishers in April 2012. The government accused Apple and the publishers of conspiring to illegally fix e-book prices to boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its discount pricing.

All five of the publishers involved -- Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS, which publishes CNET), Macmillan Publishers, and Penguin Group -- have now settled. The most recent publisher to fully settle was Penguin, which agreed to pay $75 million to bring an end to the long-running complaints brought by many states and private class plaintiffs.

In a pretrial hearing for the antitrust lawsuit last week, the judge presiding over the case said that she believed the Justice Department will be able to show direct evidence that Apple "facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books." But, she also said that no final decision would be made until after the trial.

With Apple being the only company left in the lawsuit, there has most likely been pressure for it settle too. However, as Cook made clear in the interview Tuesday, he maintains that Apple didn't take part in any wrongdoing and that no collusion with the book publishers took place.

If the case does go to court, Cook will have to testify. The trial is set to start on June 3.