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Macmillan settles in ebook price-fixing case, leaving Apple a lone holdout

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iBooks on iPhone
iBooks on iPhone

The US Department of Justice has announced that it's settled with Macmillan in an ebook price-fixing case involving Apple and several other publishers. In a statement, the DoJ said Macmillan has agreed to lift restrictions on discounting ebooks, and to report on any joint ventures or collaborations with other publishers. Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette were all accused of conspiring with Apple to raise the prices of their ebooks in response to Amazon's low prices in mid-2012. Three of the publishers almost immediately settled, and Penguin followed suit in December, leaving Macmillan the only holdout besides Apple. Both Macmillan and Penguin's decisions still need to be officially approved after a public comment period.

With Macmillan effectively out of the picture, the Department of Justice says it will continue to prosecute Apple alone; it expects a trial to begin in June of this year unless a settlement is reached. The European Union pursued a similar case against Apple and the five publishers, but it accepted a settlement from all except Penguin late last year.