Apple vs. Amazon: A Tale of Two Conspiracies

The European Commission announced an agressive antitrust investigation into Apple's e-book policies, leaving many to wonder the obvious: What about Amazon? The Apple probe also targets five top publishing houses -- Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan -- all of whom,  the Commission claims  "have, possibly with the help of Apple, engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books ... in breach of EU antitrust rules." As the Apple critics cheer, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos must be smiling and touching his fingertips in true Montgomery Burns fashion. 

Those that've been following Apple's late entrance into the e-book market aren't too surprised about the antitrust investigation in Europe. Just three months ago, the Hagens Berman litigation group  filed a very similar, antitrust-related class action lawsuit against Apple in the United States District Court of Northern California. The suit alleges that Apple and the same five publishers named in the European investigation conspired to create a so-called "agency model" arrangement that allowed the publishers to set the prices of the e-books in Apple's iBookstore leading to industry-wide inflation.

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