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Apple lose Ebook case – judge say played central role in price fixing

A year has passed since the government accused Apple of conspiring with major book publishers to raise E-book prices. A Federal judge has said that Apple played a ‘central role’ in the price fixing when the iPad launched in 2010.

The government was able to show that Apple and the publishers ‘conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy.’

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote issued a 160 page opinion after hearing evidence from both sides during a trial in New York which ran from June 3rd to June 20th.

She said “Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would have succeeded as it did in Spring 2010…Apple and the Publisher Defendants shared one overarching interest – that there be no price competition at the retail level.”

Forbes add that The US DOJ filed suit against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Macmillan and Simon and Schuster in April 2012 saying they worked together to raise ebook prices and to undermine Amazon’s ebook market lead.

Up until 2009 Amazon were selling almost 90 percent of all E-books. All of the publishers settled with the government although Apple went to trial.

Apple have said they will appeal the decision. The government called emails by former CEO Steve Jobs settling prices at $12.99 to $14.99, above the discounted $9.99 price for e-books offered by Amazon.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said “We’ve done nothing wrong. Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing. When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.”

Forbes also published highlights from Cote’s decision which you can read over here.

Kitguru says: Will this tarnish the reputation of Apple in the public eye?

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