Apple denies alleged price fixing on e-books

In its response to the anti-trust charges leveled against it – as well as five leading book publishers - by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Apple said in a Thursday statement that it has not conspired to fix the prices on e-books.

Denying the allegations that Apple has colluded with five major book publishers - Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Macmillan - to inflate the prices of e-books, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said in a statement to The Times that DoJ’s accusation against the company "is simply not true."

Further adding that Apple’s 2010 launch of the iBookstore had “fostered innovation and competition” by breaking Amazon's monopolistic hold on the digital books industry, Neumayr said that iBookstore customers have benefited from e-books which are more interactive and engaging. Neumayr also said that "just as we've allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore."

Apple’s denial of alleged price fixing on e-books has come in reaction to the several antitrust lawsuits which federal and state officials filed against the company and the book publishers on Wednesday. The lawsuits claimed that Apple CEO Steve Jobs played the lead role in the conspiracy to raise the prices of digital books.

The DoJ said that the filing of the lawsuits were an indication that the department will relentlessly pursue the e-book price collusion case against Apple and the book publishers, so as to ensure that the emerging e-book market could be kept "open and competitive."