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Apple Colluded on eBook Prices, Judge Finds (Reuters)
In a sweeping rejection of Apple Inc’s strategy for selling electronic books on the Internet, a federal judge ruled that the company conspired with five major publishers to raise eBook prices. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found “compelling evidence” that Apple violated federal antitrust law by playing a “central role” in a conspiracy with the publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise eBook prices. GalleyCat “After carefully weighing the evidence, the court agreed with the Justice Department and 33 state attorneys general that executives at the highest levels of Apple orchestrated a conspiracy with five major publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster — to raise eBook prices,” the DOJ said in a statement. “Through [Wednesday's] court decision and previous settlements with five major publishers, consumers are again benefitting from retail price competition and paying less for their eBooks.” Fortune Apple has announced that it will appeal Cote’s decision. And if it’s to prevail in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals or — if it comes to that — the Supreme Court, it will be on the strength or weakness of her responses to the six major arguments Apple raised in its defense. NYT The verdict in the Apple case might have been a foregone conclusion, telegraphed by the judge herself, but it emphatically underlined how the traditional players in the book business have been upended. Only Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos, seems to have a plan. He is executing it with a skill that infuriates his competitors and rewards his stockholders. paidContent Judge Cote plans to schedule a separate hearing to determine damages and other consequences for Apple. These could be stayed pending appeal. Because all of the publishers in the case have settled and have entered into new agreements with Apple, it is unclear what kinds of changes Apple could be forced to make. There are a few possible answers, however, in a government pre-trial brief.