Apple has officially responded to the antitrust claim brought against the company by the US Department of Justice. In the claim the DOJ says that Apple worked with five major publishers to illegally fix eBook pricing. In response to the lawsuit Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD:
The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.
Three of the five major publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster — have already settled with the DOJ. However, Penguin Group and MacMillan have vowed to fight the suit along with Apple.
However, leading antitrust experts say that the DOJ has a “far better case” for price fixing among the publishers than they do against Apple. One reason is that Apple was allegedly not present at meetings with the five publisher when they decided to fix eBook pricing. Another reason: it’s hard to bring an antitrust case against a company who only controls 10% of the eBook market through its iBookstore. Amazon, on the other hand, has a 90% share of the eBook market.