Many of our small business members are concerned by today’s Department of Justice antitrust action against Apple and book publishers for purported e-book price fixing. While it is curious that the government would consider an antitrust case against a competitor with a market share far below dominance, it is also alarming that the actions it takes may have a profoundly negative impact on smaller retailers.
The wrong result from DOJ action could harm small businesses on the iTunes store significantly. The convergence of app makers and publishers at iTunes and the App Store has allowed for the distribution of innovative interactive content that can only succeed when its creators have flexibility in choosing how to bring their works to market. Unfortunately, the Justice Department’s latest step reprises the old story of the small developer/publisher becoming the collateral damage in the battle of the giants. Author Scott Turow hit the nail on the head when he said, “our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition.”