Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) has been dealt a blow in its escalating row over alleged ebook price fixing, after a New York (Frankfurt: A0DKRK - news) court refused to throw out a class-action lawsuit against it.
The company and five major book publishers are facing multiple lawsuits after claims that they colluded to fix the price of e-books. Apple wanted to loosen the stranglehold Amazon's Kindle has on the ebook market and to give its own iPad device a boost, it has been alleged.
The US Department of Justice and the European Union are both taking action against the companies, alongside a group of consumers and more than 30 US states who have launched their own lawsuits to recover "unfair" charges from Apple and the publishers.
All the cases centre on the so-called agency model for ebook pricing, whereby publishers are allowed to set the price of books as long as they hand over 30pc of the profits to the retailer.
Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Hachette all signed up to the scheme with Apple, before it was adopted by other retailers.
The "multi-state" filing includes a note to publishers, purportedly from former Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, explaining why it would be better to "throw in" with Apple and "hold back your books from Amazon".