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Apple reportedly stays out of ebook settlement talks

Mel Martin

Apple doesn't appear to be rushing to settle antitrust claims in the price-fixing investigation into ebooks.

The Wall Street Journal and others are reporting today that Apple and two other publishers are reluctant to settle, according to people knowledgeable about the investigation.

There are price-fixing probes active in both in the US and Europe. If a deal can't be reached, the matter will escalate into a full-blown lawsuit from government regulators.

The issue stems from allegations that Apple and 5 publishers decided together to fix the price of ebooks using the so-called 'agency pricing model', where publishers set a price and take a 30% cut. All the companies could receive massive fines if they are found guilty.

The pricing method came about as Apple and publishers tried to compete against Amazon, which was discounting books -- sometimes taking a loss -- to sell the Kindle.

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