updated 08:10 pm EST, Tue December 20, 2011
Lawyers want to defend based on insider knowledge
Law firms have motioned this week to represent plaintiffs in class action suits accusing Apple of colluding with publishers. Grant & Eisenhofer claimed to have an insider that revealed "detailed knowledge" in March that gave it reason to pursue the case. A matching filing from another firm also pointed to a source, possibly the same one, that attended an "in-person meeting" with a "very knowledgeable and important confidential source" that was aware of dealings.
The accuracy of the sources isn't confirmed, but if real could potentially condemn Apple, major publishers, and possibly retailers like Amazon. Publicly, the only talk of the alleged price fixing has centered on rumors of an Apple price war with Amazon in the run-up to the iPad launch, where Apple supposedly let publishers have more control over pricing to lure publishers who were hesitant to go beyond Amazon.
Under the accusations, Apple's decision to use this model was combined with "most favored nation" pricing, where other stores outside of the iBookstore weren't allowed to undercut Apple's figures. Publishers then used this term to allegedly strongarm Amazon with the threat that they would pull their books from the Kindle store without a price hike.
Amazon itself hasn't been considered entirely fair to publishers and is known to have sold e-books at a loss to build market share. Apple's move may have created a reverse situation where publishers could pad margins and keep prices high. [via paidContent]