CC image courtesy of Szilveszter Farkas on Flickr
Judge Denise Cote of the US District Court of the Southern District of New York found Apple conspired from 2009 onwards with other major publishers to fix the prices of e-books with the intent of thwarting price-based competition in the market.
Cote judged that Apple had the intent of toppling rival Amazon’s reign of popularity, and intended to raise the price of e-books across the market.
“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 ruled.
The US government and various states had brought claims against five other prominent publishers - Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Shuster, and Penguin - all of which settled their cases without going to trial. Apple was the only company to go through to trial.
HumanIPO reported last month Apple’s lawyer had used her closing remarks at the company’s anti-trust trial to say a ruling against the company would set a dangerous precedent and have a “chilling effect” on the industry.
“Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010,” said Cote.
Cote ordered a further trial to determine the extent of damages which must be paid by Apple to the plaintiffs.
Penguin settled its case for US$75 million, while Macmillan agreed to a US$26 million settlement. Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster also settled, committing US$69 million to customer compensation.