Sen. Charles "Chuck" Schumer (D-NY) wants the U.S. Justice Department to end its e-books antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishing companies Macmillan and Penguin, which the Justice Department sued in April over alleged price collusion. Writing in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal published online late Wednesday, stating that the lawsuit "misses the forest for the trees." Schumer argues that the lawsuit would only return Amazon to a monopolistic position in the rapidly growing e-books marketplace. As Schumer explains:
The suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market it occupied for years before competition arrived in the form of Apple. If that happens, consumers will be forced to accept whatever prices Amazon sets...
Amazon took an early lead in e-book sales, capturing 90% of the retail market. Because of its large product catalog, Amazon could afford to sell e-books below cost.This model may have served Amazon well, but it put publishers and authors at a distinct disadvantage as they continued to try to market paper books and pave a way forward for a digital future.
Apple says that Apple's entry into the e-books market with the launch of the iPad and iBookstore in 2010 provided a necessary competitive counterbalance to Amazon, reducing it to 60 percent of the e-books market, as well as lowering prices for consumers from an average of $9 to $6. The arguments echo Apple's own filing fighting the lawsuit, in which the company said that "The government’s complaint against Apple is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law."