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A senior executive at Apple has admitted to a New York court that deals it made with publishers caused a rise in the price of e-books. The case, being heard at district court in Manhattan, is being brought by the Justice Department in an attempt to prove that the artificially inflated digital book prices.

Eddie Cue, Apple's senior VP of Internet software and services, is the firm's most senior executive to appear on the stand in the case. Testy at times and—almost unheard of for him—wearing a suit, he also revealed that the firm considered doing a deal with Amazon that would give each tech firm a virtual monopoly in two Internet arenas—books for Amazon, music for Apple.

Denying that his deals were treating customers unfairly, Cue also revealed that Steve Jobs wasn't at all keen on the iBookstore, believing that his firm's products weren't suitable for reading on.

"When I got my first chance to touch and play with the iPad," said Cue during questioning, "I became convinced this was a huge opportunity for us to build the best e-reader the market has ever seen." When Jobs changed his mind, following an email from Cue, followed up by a meeting, he gave his executive a few months to get the content deals together.

"Steve said, It's fine; go do this, but get the deals done in January so I can demo it on stage [when the iPad was first unveiled]."