Justice Dept. announces three e-book settlements, but not with Apple

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a Department of Justice press conference announcing a government antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and book publishers, April 11, 2012. CBS

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a Department of Justice press conference announcing a government antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and book publishers, April 11, 2012.
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a Department of Justice press conference announcing a government antitrust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and book publishers, April 11, 2012.
CBS

(CBS/CNET) The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed today that it has reached antitrust settlements for alleged e-book price fixing with three large publishers - but not with Apple Inc.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference this morning that the settlement will provide retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble the "freedom to reduce the prices of their e-book titles."

Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS) agreed to settle charges in the lawsuit that was filed today, Holder said. The settlement must be approved by a New York federal court.

Apple, Macmillan Publishers, and Penguin Group have not settled the case and have chosen to fight the charges in court, the department said.

"We will pursue vigorously our claims against these companies," acting assistant attorney general Sharis Pozen said.

Pozen quoted a statement that she claimed was made by the late Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, telling publishers that: "The customer pays a little more. But that's what you want anyway."

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    Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.

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