A 2013 trial date for a lawsuit recently filed by the U.S. government against Apple has been set, according to a report by Reuters. The trial for the case, which accuses the tech giant and several book publishers of collusion, will begin on June 3, 2013.
The case stems from the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust allegations that Apple conspired with five publishers to raise the prices of e-books in early 2010. If you’ll recall, that’s around the time Apple launched iBooks in conjunction with the original iPad.
Out of the five publishers, three have since reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. They are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, and Simon & Schuster.
The remaining two publishers, MacMillan and Penguin Group, are facing the lawsuit alongside Apple.
In its defense, Apple denies the charges of conspiracy, even as its late CEO Steve Jobs had been quoted as saying:
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.”
Apple maintains that it has not colluded with publishers toward e-book pricing for the purpose of overcoming Amazon’s hold on the market. In addition, the company argues that its entry has actually led to “tremendous growth in e-book titles, range and variety of offerings, sales, and improved quality of the e-book reading experience.”
Apple’s impact on e-reading and the e-book market cannot be denied. But as an avid reader of books, I’m hoping that this case would eventually result in prices of e-books in Apple’s iBookstore and elsewhere being much lower than the prices of their print counterparts.