In a strongly worded document, the U.S. Department of Justice responded to public comments made objecting to the department’s proposed settlement of price fixing charges levied against Apple, Inc., HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and four other publishers. The charges arose out of an alleged scheme between Apple and the publishers to establish an “agency model” of ebook pricing, with a goal of defeating Amazon.com’s widespread ebook discounting. Under this model, the publishers agree to follow the same pricing models in their sales to all ebook vendors including Amazon. According to the Justice Department, the scheme resulted in higher ebook prices and was a violation of federal antitrust laws.
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