The wall street journal and Cnet are both reporting that the Agency pricing model is being actively pursued by the DoJ against Apple and the publishers who converted to the model in concert with one another.
The DoJ is in receipt of depositions asserting that Agency model makes for a more competitive market, despite the fact that ebook prices went up, not down, after it's introduction - and that one of the principals in the conversation laid that out as one of the goals.
Price rises tend to be the result of a more cooperative - perhaps even collusive - market rather than a a competive one.
Particularly entertaining is Apple's response about delivering a captive audience via the iPad being helpful, despite the statement by Jobs to his biographer.
When the WSJ is explaining what happened as it does in this article, it makes it understandable that at least some of publishers are looking to settle - the Journal has a dog, Harper Collins, in the fight, and still this is how the article outlines Apple's role.
From the WSJ article:
As Apple prepared to introduce its first iPad, the late Steve Jobs, then its chief executive, suggested moving to an "agency model," under which the publishers would set the price of the book and Apple would take a 30% cut. Apple also stipulated that publishers couldn't let rival retailers sell the same book at a lower price.
"We told the publishers, 'We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway,'" Mr. Jobs was quoted as saying by his biographer, Walter Isaacson.
The publishers were then able to impose the same model across the industry, Mr. Jobs told Mr. Isaacson. "They went to Amazon and said, 'You're going to sign an agency contract or we're not going to give you the books,' " Mr. Jobs said.
The Justice Department believes that Apple and the publishers acted in concert to raise prices across the industry, and is prepared to sue them for violating federal antitrust laws, the people familiar with the matter said.
- end of WSJ quote.-