DOJ: Steve Jobs E-Mails Show That Apple Engaged In E-Book Price-Fixing

DOJ logoBoth the publishers and Apple have denied any collusion, but a newly uncovered e-mail from late Apple co-founder and turtlenecked figurehead Steve Jobs to James Murdoch of News Corp (parent company of HarperCollins, one of the sued publishers and a former employer of yours truly) seems to indicate that its Jobs who came up with the pricing scheme.

“Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99,” wrote Jobs.

Two days later, HarperCollins signed a deal with Apple that made agency pricing its standard model for all e-book sellers.

The DOJ also alleges that when Random House resisted the shift to the agency model, Jobs threatened to block the publisher’s e-book application from being distributed through the Apple app store. After Random House gave in, the Apple exec in charge of its e-books deals wrote to Jobs saying that part of the reason the publisher ultimately agreed was “the fact that I prevented an app from Random House from going live in the app store.”

Another document uncovered by the DOJ shows Random House’s top executive saying his company had been counseled by Apple to withhold e-books from Amazon in order to get the company to accept agency pricing.

Read the full article on The Consumerist.

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