Apple Hit with DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit over Ebook Pricing

The U.S. Department of Justice followed through on its warning and filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Wednesday alleging that the Mac and iPad maker collaborated with publishers to artificially raise the price of ebooks. Along with Apple, the DOJ named  Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Penguin, and Hachette in the lawsuit, according to Bloomberg.

DOJ sues Apple, others, over ebook price fixingDOJ sues Apple, others, over ebook price fixing

The DOJ has been conducting an investigation in March into whether or not the companies colluded to artificially raise the price of ebooks by forcing the adoption of the agency model for book sales. The agency model gives publishers control over the price of books instead letting retailers set their own prices — an option regularly took advantage of to sell books below cost.

Apple pushed the agency model for its iBookstore where it also struck deals blocking lower prices for the same titles through other book stores.

The DOJ warned Apple in early March that it was considering filing an antitrust lawsuit. The government agency also started negotiating with publishers to reach an out of court settlement. Apple, Penguin and MacMillin, however, refused to participate in negotiations and claimed they haven’t broken any laws.

Simon & Schuster, along with Hachette, have been negotiating with the DOJ, and the agency says it announce what it called an unspecified antitrust settlement later today.

Apple has not commented on the news.