Amazon did a victory dance of sorts today after the Justice Department filed its e-book pricing antitrust case against Apple and five book publishers — three of whom (Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster) have agreed to a proposed settlement. The e-retailer called it “a big win for Kindle owners” adding that it looks forward “to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books.” Barnes & Noble, which sells the Nook e-reader, had no comment. If a court approves, then Justice’s settlement with the three publishers would require them to let retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble set their own prices for e-books. It also would wipe out their most-favored-nation deals with retailers including Apple — agreements that guarantee other retailers won’t undercut their e-book prices. “In recent years, we have seen the rapid growth – and the many benefits – of electronic books,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “E-books are transforming our daily lives, and improving how information and content is shared. For the growing number of Americans who want to take advantage of this new technology, the Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible.” Apple, along with publishers Macmillan and Penguin, have decided to go to court to fight the charges. Acting Assistant Attorney General Sharis Pozen sayd the Justice Department “will pursue vigorously our claims against those companies to ensure that consumers get the full benefits of the competition they deserve.”
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