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Judge rules that Apple conspired with major publishers to increase eBook prices

Jul 11 2013, 12:19am CDT | by , in News | Apple

Judge rules that Apple conspired with major publishers to increase eBook prices

Manhattan District Federal Judge, Denise Cote, ruled today that Cupertino-based technology giant, Apple, conspired with major publishers to increase the prices of eBooks.

Manhattan District Federal Judge, Denise Cote, ruled today that Cupertino-based technology giant, Apple, conspired with major publishers to increase the prices of eBooks.

The publisher, five of them, included News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers LLC, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group Inc, Pearson Plc's Penguin Group (USA) Inc, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH's Macmillan. Judge Cote said that she found compelling evidence that Apple indeed violated federal antitrust law by conspiring with the said publishers in a bid to undercut competition, particularly Amazon, who previously had 90 percent of the overall market share.

Another evidence is Steve Jobs's email sent to News Corp's mogul, James Murdoch, that expressed the late co-founder's desire to boost prices and create a real mainstream eBooks market at $12.99 and $14.99. In a 159-page decision, Cote writes that Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, the company would not have succeeded as it did.

Apple, on the other hand, is planning to appeal the decision. Apple spokesman, Tom Neumayr, said that the company did not conspire to fix e-book pricing. "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," Neumayr adds.

Meanwhile, Judge Cote has set a trial to discuss damages on August 9th. 

Source: Reuters

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