After suing Apple and 5 other publishers this morning for antitrust violations, it now appears that three of those publishers targeted by the initial lawsuit have settled with the government. The three publishers in question include Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.
That leaves Apple and two other publishers – Macmillan and Penguin – still in play.
Earlier today, Macmillin CEO John Sargent penned an open letter concerning the government’s suit, writing in part:
The government’s charge is that Macmillan’s CEO colluded with other CEO’s in changing to the agency model. I am Macmillan’s CEO and I made the decision to move Macmillan to the agency model. After days of thought and worry, I made the decision on January 22nd, 2010 a little after 4:00 AM, on an exercise bike in my basement. It remains the loneliest decision I have ever made, and I see no reason to go back on it now.
More pertinent to the case, Sargent writes that while Macmillan was involved in direction negotiations with the DOJ to avoid formal legal action, the terms they were demanding were ultimately too burdensome to accept. What’s more, Sargent writes that
After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that the terms could have allowed Amazon to recover the monopoly position it had been building before our switch to the agency model. We also felt the settlement the DOJ wanted to impose would have a very negative and long term impact on those who sell books for a living, from the largest chain stores to the smallest independents.
Looks like we’ve got a fight on our hands, folks.