NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The United States government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and other book publishers today.
The lawsuit claims Apple worked with several book publishers to increase the prices on electronic books as a way to limit competition.
The other publishers named in the lawsuit included Holtzbrinck publishers and the Penguin Publishing Company.
The lawsuit also says that the government has reached a settlement with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon and Schuster.
During a news conference at the Department of Justice today, Attorney General Eric Holder said consumers paid millions of dollars more as a result of the scheme.
"Beginning in the summer of 2009, we allege that executives at the highest level of the companies included in today's lawsuit concerned that e-book sellers had reduced prices; worked together to eliminate competition among stores selling e-books, ultimately increasing prices for consumers. Now as the result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles."
"Agreements between companies that are reached unilaterally generally are legal an appropriate,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Shares Pozen,“ However, let me be clear. When companies get together and conspire to enter into agreements that eliminate price competition, it crosses the line. This kind of agreement is illegal and anticompetitive. That’s when the antitrust division will take action, and that's what we've done today."