DOJ: Apple & Pubs Formed “Cabal” to Extinguish Competition

Apple and book publishers formed “a cabal” to extinguish competition in the e-book market, according to an official Department of Justice statement released on the heels of the agency’s lawsuit against Apple and publishers this morning.

The DoJ’s lead counsel, Steve Berman, issued the statement this morning after the knowledge of the lawsuit became public:

We are pleased that the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Holder agreed with our analysis that Apple and some of the nation’s largest publishers engaged in anticompetitive practices.

We’ve long held that Apple and this group of book publishers formed a cabal with the sole intent of extinguishing any competitive influences in the e-book marketplace.

While Attorney General Holder’s actions, if successful, will put an end to the anticompetitive actions, our class-action is designed to pry the ill-gotten profits from Apple and the publishers and return them to consumers.

One of the main engines of our economy today is technological innovation, including devices such as the iPad and Kindle. Any company - or conspiracy of companies - trying to illegally limit the benefit of these technologies is guilty of more than anticompetitive behavior. They are guilty of stanching future innovation in the marketplace.

We are eager to move forward with our civil action against Apple and the publishers, and to show the court and the public the depth and breadth of the conspiracy they concocted at the expense of consumers.

Some of the lawsuit’s targets, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group, are apparently close to a settlement with the Department while Apple and the remaining publishers vow to fight. We can now only wait and see how this game plays out and, as consumers, find out if the DoJ’s actions are one big mistake.