Apple Found Guilty of Price Fixing eBooks; Punishment Coming in Later Trial
Recently, five publishers and Apple were accused of fixing the price on eBooks to try and battle Amazon's dominance on the market, with three of the publishers settling last October, with a fourth following in December. This past February saw the final publisher settle, which just left Apple all alone for a court date in June. Today the ruling came down from District Judge Denise Cote, who found Apple guilty of conspiring "to restrain trade" as it led a conspiracy to fix eBook pricing above what Amazon was charging. The five publishers and Apple were accused of pricing eBooks at $12.99 and $14.99, when Amazon was typically charging $9.99. Judge Cote said the following in her decision:
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. Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the Spring of 2010.
Exactly how much Apple will have to owe wasn't decided today, but will be at a later trial. The five publishers have paid out $164 million in reimbursements, and odds are that number is going to go up. Once a decision has been made, you can be sure to hear about it here. Apple is unhappy with the judge's decision and a spokesman said the company didn't engage in any eBook price fixing conspiracy, and that it plans to appeal the ruling.
Source: Ars Technica