Consumer tech giant Apple conspired with major book publishers to raise the price of e-books in connection with the launch of its iPad tablet computer in 2010, in violation of antitrust law, a Manhattan federal district judge has ruled.
US District Judge Denise Cote also called for a trial on damages.
She dismissed arguments from Apple executives and lawyers saying the company was only working with publishers who were dissatisfied with the way e-commerce giant Amazon priced its books.
The US Department of Justice had claimed the conspiracy intended knock Amazon.com’s dominance of the e-books market.
Only Apple went to a non-jury trial, which ended on 20 June. The publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Simon & Schuster and Penguin – settled with the US government and the states, Reuters reported.
Cote said the conspiracy resulted in prices for some e-books rising to US$12.99 or US$14.99, when Amazon had sold for US$9.99.
“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.
Cote issued her 159-page decision today.
Apple building image via Shutterstock