Apple Found Guilty of Fixing E-Book Prices
The Department of Justice has won its e-book price fixing case against Apple. Today, Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple was guilty of conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices. Another trial will follow at a later date to determine the damages.
Cote believed the plaintiffs delivered "compelling evidence" that Apple violated anti-trust laws and played a central role with major publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices. In a 159 page decision, the judge wrote the following:
Apple chose to join forces with the publisher defendants to raise e-book prices and equipped them with the means to do so. Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did.
The DOJ claimed that Apple and publishers worked out a deal which stated they could not sell books on other stores at a lower price, which allowed Apple to to gain a substantial share of the market avoiding most competition.
Apple responded with the following statement:
"Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations. 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. We’ve done nothing wrong and we will appeal the judge’s decision."
The DOJ is touting its victory via a press release from Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer.
“This result is a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically … Companies cannot ignore the antitrust laws when they believe it is in their economic self-interest to do so. This decision by the court is a critical step in undoing the harm caused by Apple’s illegal actions.”