The U.S. Justice Department is now calling Apple the "ringmaster" in an e-book price-fixing conspiracy, according to reports.
The agency found an e-mail from Apple's late chief Steve Jobs to James Murdoch of News Corporation, which said “Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99," according to the New York Times.
That e-mail seemed to indicate Apple had more of a leadership role in the April 2012 antitrust lawsuit
against Apple and five publishing houses. The suit said that the conspiracy was to force Amazon to raise its e-book prices from $9.99, something that would benefit both Apple and traditional publishers.
The email was released by the department before the trial begins on June 3.
Not surprisingly, publishing company HarperCollins which was owned by News Corporation, signed an agreement with Apple. However, now Apple is the only defendant in the lawsuit. All other give publishing company have settled the lawsuit. Apple denies any conspiracy or price-fixing.
It's not unusual for Apple to fight a legal battle. It's no stranger
to litigation, and has plenty of extra cash
to pay expensive legal fees. Unfortunately for Apple, it is a big catch for the U.S. Justice Department and it is unlikely to drop the case against the Cupertino company.