Reports say that Apple and five major book publishers may be sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for conspiring to raise e-book prices.
Apple controls 20 percent of the e-book market, according to an Apple executive testifying in trial where the U.S. Department of Justice accused Apple of colluding with publishers to set e-book prices.
The news, first reported in Publishers Weekly, is larger than had been previously estimated. If the statistic is valid, then other shares of the market would be shifted downward. Apple's Keith Moerer's testimony from the trial:
“The government called the iBookstore ‘a failure,’ and charged that ‘Apple pricing was unfair to consumers,’ and that ‘Apple sold fewer books because of the higher price caps.’ Moerer challenged that characterization, ‘I disagree. Ebook sales grew 100 percent last year at the iBookstore and it had over 100 million customers.’ The government countered that ‘when you drop prices you sell more books,’ and Moerer said, ‘sometimes, yes.’”
However, since last year the iBookstore doesn't match lower prices part of the "most-favored nation" clause.
The news that Apple controls 20 percent of the e-book market is surprising, causing some critics to wonder about the veracity of the statement. If the numbers are correct, then Apple had a lot more skin in the game than previously thought.