Apple and five of the publishing industry’s top firms were accused of working together to fix prices on e-books in a Justice Department suit Wednesday. Three publishers — Hachette, Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins — agreed to settle. Apple, Penguin Group and Macmillan did not agree to settle. Macmillan’s chief executive said Wednesday that the firm would fight the charges in court.
In its complaint, the Justice Department lays out a narrative of collusion at the highest levels of the tech giant and some of the nation’s biggest publishing houses. The filing is filled with accounts of high-priced lunches, phone calls between chief executives and barbs thrown at the “holdout major publisher,” likely Random House, which took longer to switch to Apple’s agency model.
Here are some highlights from the filing:
- The complaint paints Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs as dismissive toward concerns that the companies might be in unethical territory. In her remarks, acting antitrust chief Sharis Pozen pointed to a Jobs quote to illustrate that attitude. According to the complaint, Jobs told the publishers, “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.”