Originally Posted by citivas
You should read up on collusion. This is a textbook example.
And there are two issues, the collusion and the pricing. On the pricing, what they are doing is already illegal for print books and many other forms of retail products. Manufacturers are always able to set whatever wholesale pricing they want for a consumer product, but rarely control third party retail pricing when they themselves are not a retail seller of the product. What they are doing now is the market equivalent of selling something off selling you something then legally dictating what you re-sell it for on E-Bay or whatever. They are controlling both their direct sale and the secondary sale price. You may feel it is "bogus" on some personal principle, which is your right, but it's certainly not bogus legally. I have no idea how this one will go, but suits like this one often succeed.
Not seeing any collusion right now.
If we take previous cases of price fixing, like the airlines and fuel surcharges, there were actual meetings held by the airlines, plus a few emails swapped and so forth. The airlines colluded to subvert market forces, and worked against the consumer.
There is a very big difference between airlines and book publishers.
If I want to fly between London and New York, there are many airlines who can sell me a ticket. The service they offer is the same.
However, if I want to buy a Harry Potter book, then I can only buy it through one publisher. Admittedly, I could buy "any" book, but the chances are - I probably won't - I'll buy a book on a recommendation or review or advert. All of these things are specific to a single book. If I want to read about Harry Potter, my choices are limited.
So I'm not sure how publishers can be charged with price fixing when they sell different books. You could say that if you were looking for a book on Madrid there are many choices, but could you imagine a court trying to work out the difference between a Harry Potter book vs a Madrid travel book?
The other issue is quite how Apple are getting dragged into this. The lawyer mentions about companies wanting to retain "profitability" hence turning to Apple. That is not grounds for a price fixing case.
Apple asking for the same terms that other companies get is also not anti-competitive either, and is a common thing. Why would a company write a contract that puts them at a disadvantage? What could be illegal is asking for better terms (eg Google Books) than anyone else, but again, that's not always a bad thing.