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US judge says Apple conspired with publishers to increase e-book prices

A US judge has ruled that Apple conspired with publishers to spike e-book prices by violating antitrust laws.

Last year, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and 15 US states sued Apple and other major book publishers for alleged price-fixing of e-books.

The DOJ claimed that Apple conspired with publishers to increase e-book prices with regards to online retailer Amazon’s pricing of $9.99 for newly launched and best selling e-books.

In the latest ruling, US District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said Apple conspired to restrain fair trade.

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"The plaintiffs have shown that the publisher defendants 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," Cote said.

"Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the Spring of 2010."

Reacting to the judge’s ruling the US DOJ said 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," the DOJ said.

Last month, Apple senior executive Eddy Cue defended the company in the e-book price-fixing trial by saying that it did not fix prices.

All five publishers involved in the lawsuit, Hachette Book, HarperCollins Publishers, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Publishers, and Penguin Group, have settled with the DOJ.
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.