DOJ Investigating Apple Over eBook Antitrust Claims

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Apple is facing a Department of Justice investigation into possible antitrust violations related to ebook pricing at its iBookstore. Confirmation of the DOJ investigation followed a report that the European Commission was looking into similar allegations in Europe.

DOJ investigates Apple ebook pricingLike the EU investigation, is looking into whether Apple and book publishers worked together to artificially set ebook pricing.

“We are also investigating the electronic book industry, along with the European Commission and the states attorneys general,” Justice Department acting antitrust chief Sharis Pozen told the Wall Street Journal.

Word surfaced on Tuesday that the EU has launched an investigation into ebook price fixing that includes Apple, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Penguin, Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck.

“The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA,” the agency said.

Apple’s tie-in into the investigation involve deals that pushed an agency model where publishers can set book pricing instead of resellers, and agreements that block publishers from selling their titles for less through other ebook stores.

Apple has not commented on either investigation.

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