The Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the US' biggest book publishers over allegations that they conspired to fix the price of e-books ahead of the iPad's launch, the Wall Street Journal reports. The conspiracy allegedly aimed to drive up prices, which had settled at around $9.99 on Amazon, and to limit Amazon's ability to discount them.
"Defendants' ongoing conspiracy and agreement have caused e-book consumers to pay tens of millions of dollars more for e-books than they otherwise would have paid," the lawsuit alleges. Justice is expected to file a settlement with some of the publishers later today, in a deal that will likely end Apple's deal with them, and bring down e-book prices. (Read more Apple stories.)