It’s fair to say that news of the DOJ finally filing a lawsuit against Apple and half a dozen other publishers led to a flurry of comment and reaction, some of it reasoned and useful, some of it… Well, I thought I’d round up some of the former responses. To start off, here are the relevant DOJ documents, including the original complaint.
First, here are the official responses from the companies that have decided not to settle with the DOJ:
- Apple issued a statement to AllThingsD in which the company defended its position and insisted that the agency pricing model is a Good Thing.
- Penguin is one of the publishers that is not settling, and the company’s CEO John Makinson issued his own rather defiant statement.
- The other publisher that is not settling is Macmillan, whose CEO John Sargent also issued a defiant defence of his company’s position.
The other publishers – Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins – have settled:
- Here’s the DOJ’s statement on that settlement, which notes that the settlement includes the establishment of an antitrust compliance program and various other measures designed to ensure that there is no collusion on prices in the future.
- HarperCollins issued a statement defending the agency model but stating that they settled anyway. Simon & Schuster and Hachette seem to have made no public, on the record statements so far.
Searching for intelligent commentary on the whole thing?
- Here’s Cnet‘s Declan McCullagh and Greg Sandoval explaining why the DOJ’s case against Apple is shaky.
- Here’s Wired‘s Tim Carmody explaining why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos should be pretty pleased with how the whole drama is developing.
- Here’s Smashwords’ Mark Coker explaining why he thinks the DOJ is wrong.
- Here’s Teleread‘s Paul Biba giving a general rundown of the whole situation and what might happen next.
- Authors Guild president Scott Turow, who has consistently supported Apple and the publishers, has written that the proposed settlement is a “shocking trip through the looking glass”.
- The Guardian‘s Alison Flood writes that if Apple loses the case, Amazon will be left with total domination of the publishing industry.
- And one of the most interesting commentaries comes from John Scalzi, who cuts through some of the guff and baloney to get to the bones of the whole thing.
So what happens next?
It seems that Apple, Penguin and Macmillan are going to have their day in court, although a settlement remains a possibility. As for the settlement with the remaining publishers, once that is approved they will have to sever their current deals with Apple. There is a 60-day comment period for the settlement, and once that has passed (in early June) Amazon can be expected to offer some heavy discounts. Meanwhile Barnes & Noble stocks dropped 6.4% this week after news of the DOJ’s lawsuit broke, because of the perception that the big winner in all of this is Amazon.
Plus there’s the news that 16 US states could launch their own legal action over ebook pricing, and that Australia could be planning its own action. Oh, and there’s the ongoing EU investigation into ebook pricing. Clearly it’s going to be a busy year and there’s room for plenty more developments…