A JUDGE has found Apple guilty of conspiring to fix the price of digital books.
US District Court Judge Denise Cote ruled on Wednesday that Apple conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books, and now must face some sort of financial penalty. She said that Apple worked together with publishers including Lagardere, Hachette and Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, to try to eliminate the competition.
Judge Cote said in her ruling, "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.
"Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did.
"Apple seized the moment and brilliantly played its hand. Taking advantage of the Publisher Defendants' fear of and frustration over Amazon's pricing. It provided the Publisher Defendants with the vision, the format, the timetable, and the coordination that they needed to raise e-book prices."
Earlier this year, Apple said that a decision against it would chill the wider industry, and not in a good way. Such a decision would "send shudders through the business community", said Apple lawyer Orin Snyder, who added, "We submit a ruling against Apple on this record sets a dangerous precedent."
Today Apple repeated its statements about not price fixing, and said it would continue to fight.
"Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations," it said in a statement sent to The INQUIRER.
"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."
Judge Cote said that damages, which could be extremely expensive for Apple, will be determined later. µ