While Apple dominated the music sales world with its iPods and iTunes store, Amazon was following a similar path with its popular Kindle and e-books store. Amazon had strengthened its position in the e-book market by offering a complete package – the popular Kindle, bundled e-book store and new titles at lucrative discounts. In fact, Amazon was developing a monopoly control over the e-book market segment. Now, as per an antitrust complaint filed last year, the US government claims that Apple along with six large book publishers has allegedly undermined Amazon’s position by forcing higher e-book prices from consumers.
Did Apple conspire in fixing e-book prices?
The trial will begin on Monday, and is expected to last for three weeks. Starting Monday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will lay out the accusations in a civil antitrust trial that Apple along with the publishers masterminded to raise prices of e-books. According to TheVerge, the DOJ has an upper hand in the trial. Apparently, the government has already presented a staggering amount of evidence. The evidence shows that Apple and the publishers have been discussing e-book prices leading up to the January 2010 launch of the iPad and the iBookstore. When the iPad was launched by Steve Jobs, he announced that the prices for e-books would be somewhere between $12.99 and $14.99. Surprisingly, he also said that he knew Amazon would no longer offer lower prices than Apple, and the e-book prices offered by both companies will be same.
Apple has a massive reputation and a loyal fan following but if found guilty of price-fixing the company’s reputation will be badly dented. In the last couple of years, Apple has already been facing issues like poor working conditions in factories that build iPad in China. Price-fixing could be yet another blow for the Cupertino based tech giant.
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