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Apple to DOJ on e-book antitrust lawsuit: Bring it on

Apple tells a federal judge in Manhattan that "this is not an appropriate case against us" and that it will fight the Justice Department's allegations, Reuters reports.


Apple remains intent on fighting the U.S. Justice Department's e-book antitrust lawsuit in court.

In a preliminary hearing before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan, an attorney for Apple reportedly reiterated the company's claim that it did nothing wrong.

"Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits," Apple lawyer Daniel Floyd said, according to Reuters. "We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that."

The Justice Department's lawsuit, filed at the same time as litigation from state attorneys general, targeted Apple and five publishers.

Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers, and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS, which publishes CNET) agreed to settlements.

Apple, Macmillan Publishers (owned by Germany's Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck holding company), and Pearson PLC's Penguin Group have not settled the case and have chosen to fight the charges in court.

The Justice Department's complaint says that the publishers and Apple conspired to shift the e-book business model from a wholesale model -- which benefited market leader Amazon.com -- to a so-called agency model, where prices are established by the publishers. "This change in business model would not have occurred without the conspiracy among the defendants," the complaint says.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating the Sherman Act and asks the court to "prohibit the collusive setting of price tiers that can de facto fix prices" and void Apple's e-book contracts with publishers that "impedes the e-book retailer's ability to set" retail prices.