Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.
A roundup of the latest news from The Associated Press:
• Amazon.com agrees to charge higher prices for Macmillan titles
SEATTLE – Amazon.com says it will give in to publishing giant Macmillan and agree to sell electronic versions of its books even at prices it considers too high.
New copies of Hilary Mantel’s "Wolf Hall," Andrew Young’s "The Politician" and other books published by Macmillan were unavailable Saturday on Amazon.com, after the retailer pulled the titles in a surprising reaction to the publisher’s new pricing model for e-books.
Amazon wants to tamp down prices as competitors such as Barnes & Noble Inc., Sony Corp. and Apple Inc. line up to challenge its dominant position in the rapidly expanding market. But Macmillan and other publishers have criticized Amazon for charging just $9.99 for best-selling e-books on its Kindle e-reader, a price publishers say is too low and could hurt sales of higher priced hardcovers.
Amazon told customers in a posting on its online Kindle Forum Sunday that it "expressed our strong disagreement" with Macmillan’s determination to charge higher prices. Under Macmillan’s model, to be put in place in March, e-books will be priced from $12.99 to $14.99 when first released and prices will change over time.
"We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books," Amazon said in the posting.
Macmillan is one of the world’s largest English-language publishers with divisions including St. Martin’s Press, Henry Holt & Co. and Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
"We are in discussions with Amazon about how to resolve our differences," Macmillan CEO John Sargent told The Associated Press Sunday. He declined to comment further.
Amazon said other publishers and independent presses might "see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative."
Amazon faces new challengers to the Kindle, including Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony’s e-book reader, plus the upcoming iPad table computer from Apple. The Seattle company sells about six e-books for every 10 paper ones when titles are available in either format. However, the popularity of e-books has driven publishers such as Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins Hachette Book Group USA to say they will delay the release of e-books in order to protect hardcover sales.
• Apple now backs VoIP calls over 3G networks for iPhone
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple Inc. is allowing iPhone owners to use Internet calling services over cellular networks.
Several companies offering Voice over Internet Protocol — or VoIP — services said this week that Apple now allows their applications to work on the iPhone.
VoIP calling has been available on the iPhone but only over Wi-Fi connections, which don’t have the range of 3G cellular networks.
Apple said the change in policy applies to applications for the iPhone and the new iPad tablet device unveiled this week, some of which will come with 3G capabilities.
Apple’s earlier decision to block a Google Inc. calling application triggered an inquiry by the Federal Communications Commission, which is investigating competition in the wireless industry.
Apple said at the time that it blocked Google Voice because the program duplicated some of the iPhone’s features and that it was still studying the application.
Two months after the FCC sent letters to Apple, Google and AT&T Inc. — the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. wireless carrier — AT&T said it had tweaked its technology to allow VoIP services on the iPhone to work over its 3G wireless network, even though the services challenge AT&T’s core calling business.
• Laws against use of mobile devices while driving don’t stop crashes, study finds
WASHINGTON — A new insurance industry study has found that state laws banning the use of handheld devices to make calls or send text messages while driving have not resulted in fewer vehicle crashes.
The study, released Friday by the Highway Loss Data Institute, examined insurance claims from crashes before and after such bans took effect in California, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.
The organization found that claims rates did not go down after the laws were enacted. It also found no change in patterns compared with nearby states without such bans.
Adrian Lund, the group’s president, said the finding doesn’t bode well "for any safety payoff from all the new laws."
Six states and the District of Columbia ban talking on a hand-held device for all drivers, while 19 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said its findings "don’t match what we already know about the risk of phoning and texting while driving" and said it is gathering data to "figure out this mismatch."
It said one explanation could be an increase in the use of handsfree devices in places with bans on handset use while driving.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also has been campaigning against texting and cell phone use while driving. In a blog post Friday, LaHood dismissed the new study’s conclusions as irresponsible and said the study will lead people "to wrongly conclude that talking on cell phones while driving is not dangerous."
Last week, the Transportation Department banned truck and bus drivers from sending text messages on hand-held devices while operating commercial vehicles of more than 10,000 pounds. Federal employees are also prohibited from texting while driving government-owned vehicles or using government-owned equipment.