Apple conspires on e-book prices:Judge
SAN FRANCISCO - Reuters
Apple on July 10 rejected a judge’s ruling that it conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books, and said it would appeal the decision. AFP photoIn a sweeping rejection of Apple’s strategy for selling electronic books on the Internet, a federal judge ruled that the company conspired with five major publishers to raise e-book prices.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found “compelling evidence” that Apple violated federal antitrust law by playing a “central role” in a conspiracy with the publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices.
Apple was accused of conspiring to undercut Amazon.com Inc’s e-book dominance, causing some e-book prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 that the online retailer charged. Amazon once had a 90 percent market share.
“Apple chose to join forces with the publisher defendants to raise e-book prices and equipped them with the means to do so,” Cote said in a 159-page decision. “Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did.”
In a statement, Apple said it will appeal Cote’s decision.“Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “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.”