Apple sued by Department of Justice
Apple sued by Department of Justice

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five publishing houses - Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster - in New York district court, claiming collusion over eBook pricing.

The filing of the lawsuit was expected after a number of reports earlier today that it was likely to happen. According to Bloomberg the lawsuit alleges Apple and the publishers reached an agreement where retail price competition would cease, retail e-books prices would increase significantly and Apple would be guarantee a 30 percent "commission" on each e-book sold.

Sources earlier told Reuters that Apple and MacMillan were the only two named in the lawsuit who didn't engage with the DOJ once it warned all six involved that the lawsuit was on its way. Both deny claims they colluded to fix ebook prices.

The other defendants in the lawsuit are expected to finalise a settlement with the DOJ in the very near future, with two sources tell Bloomberg it could be as soon as today. The Justice Department said it would announce an "unspecified" antitrust settlement today.

All parties involved, including the Justice Department's antitrust division, have refused to speak publically on the matter. The US government is seeking a settlement that would let Amazon and other retailers return to a wholesale model, where retailers decide what to charge customers, the sources said.