Apple rejects e-book pricing collusion charge

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A man looks at his Apple iPad in front an Apple logo outside an Apple store in downtown Shanghai March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Aly Song

A man looks at his Apple iPad in front an Apple logo outside an Apple store in downtown Shanghai March 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Aly Song

Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:03pm EDT

(Reuters) – Apple Inc has rejected the U.S. Justice Department’s allegations that it colluded with publishers over electronic book pricing, calling the charges “simply not true.”

The U.S. government had sued Apple and five publishers, saying they conspired to fix the prices of electronic books. It has reached a settlement with three of the publishers that could lead to cheaper e-books for consumers.

In an email to Reuters, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr confirmed the company’s position, which earlier appeared in a Wall Street Journal article.

“The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the Journal.

Kerris defended the current pricing structure as parallel to Apple’s mobile software store.

“Just as we have allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore,” she told newspaper.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad; Editing by Ron Popeski and Lisa Von Ahn)

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