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Apple Loses E-Book Price Lawsuit, Faces Damages

A judge has just ruled that Apple is guilty of conspiring to raise e-book prices.

The federal antitrust suit against Apple over e-book pricing has come to a conclusion: The judge has decided that Apple conspired with five major book publishers to artificially push prices up.

Apple denied the charges and staged an aggressive defense against the case, arguing that Amazon exerted a stranglehold on the e-book market and was itself forcing artificial prices on the market.

Today's ruling is likely to be controversial, and has potential financial implications for Apple because the judge has said the company owes damages.

Update: Apple has issued a statement to AllThingsD:

Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations. 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 and we will appeal the judge’s decision.

[Image: By Flickr user Anita Hart]

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  • Turingtest

    Keep up the fight, Apple! Looks like the judge put too much weight on a few Steve Jobs emails and didn't give enough thought to future direction of the e-book market as written by Amazon. Amazon hollowed out the publishing industry and reduced the ability of content creators to make a decent living from their craft. If this court thinks it promotes competition to wipe out publishers (through the predatory pricing practices of one distribution channel with enormous market share) then we should prepare for an economy in which only the owner of the tollbooth turns a profit.

    The agency model is not inherently anti-competitive. Publishers will compete to increase sales. Amazon will remain an aggressive competitor. Consumers will benefit in terms of price, quality, and selection regardless of whether they read their e-books on an IPad or Kindle. There is room in this marketplace for more than one pricing model.

  • Test123

    You are an idiot if you think raising prices is good for consumers. Greedy apple executives got caught red handed and must pay the price. 
    Why would you defend a company whose main motto is squeeze every penny from the consumers. Unbelievable.

  • Turingtest

    Must be a few more like me at the NY Times too. Read Dave Streitfeld's article from July 10, titled "E-Book Ruling Gives Amazon an Advantage", from which I quote:

    “The Department of Justice has unwittingly caused further consolidation in the industry at a time when consolidation is not necessarily a good thing,” said Mark Coker, the chief executive of Smashwords, an e-book distributor. “If you want a vibrant ecosystem of multiple publishers, multiple publishing methods and multiple successful retailers in 5, 20 or 50 years, we took a step backwards this week.”