Reuters has reported insider information that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) may file a lawsuit against Apple today for alleged price fixing alongside Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette Book Group, Pearson and Macmillan.
About a month ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ had begun an investigation into whether Apple and ebook publishers had colluded to raise the price of electronic books.
The investigation came about after the DOJ looked into antitrust allegations against ebook sellers increased the price of their books for Apple’s Bookstore. Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson in his biography, “We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway,’”
The DoJ believes that Apple and the publishers worked together to raise prices across the industry, which is a violation of federal antitrust regulations. Publishers told investigators that the move to increase book prices was not done collaboratively, but that it “enhanced competition in the industry by allowing more electronic booksellers to thrive.”
There is no official word at this time as to whether the DoJ will go forward with the lawsuit. We’ll update you as we learn more.