Apple Found Guilty of E-book Price Fixing
A U.S. District Judge has ruled that Apple conspired with several book publishers to raise the price of electronic books and try to limit competition in the e-book market in an effort to combat Amazon and the $9.99 price for e-books on its website.
No damages were awarded as a result of the ruling but Judge Denise Cote ordered a new hearing be undertaken to determine the amount of damages to be paid by Apple. Apple’s co-conspirators had previously been brought up on price-fixing charges.
Penguin Books settled its case with the US Department of Justice for $75 million. Macmillan settled for $26 million. Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster collectively created a $69 million fund for refunds to consumers. Between the five of them, they will pay $170 million in damages.
In her ruling, Judge Cote said, “The plaintiffs [the U.S. Department of Justice] 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.”
Despite the judge’s decision, Apple maintains that it did nothing wrong and will appeal the ruling.