Thursday, July 11, 2013

U.S. District Court Finds Apple, Inc. Guilty of E-Book Price-Fixing in Violation of American Antitrust Law

In United States of America v. Apple, Inc.,
Case 1:12-cv-02826-DLC, Document 326, filed July 10, 2013,
U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote found
that Apple engaged in e-book price-fixing
with major book publishers in violation of U.S. antitrust law,
concluding as follows
"Based on the trial record, and for the reasons stated herein, this Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that Apple conspired to restrain trade in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and relevant state statutes to the extent those laws are congruent with Section 1.  A scheduling order will follow regarding the Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief and damages."
At Forbes, Connie Guglielmo has the story in Apple Loses E-book Case After Judge Says It Played A 'Central Role' in Price-Fixing Conspiracy .

There is no real factual doubt that Apple engaged in price-fixing with a group of major book publishers in order to artificially raise e-book prices and avoid price competition -- precisely the thing that antitrust is supposed to prevent. As written in Judge Cote's decision:
"There is, at the end of the day, very little dispute about many of the most material facts in this case. Before Apple even met with the first Publisher Defendant in mid-December 2009, it knew that the “Big Six” of United States publishing…wanted to raise e-book prices, in particular above the $9.99 prevailing price charge by Amazon for many e-book versions of New York times bestselling books and other newly released hardcover books. Apple also knew that Publisher Defendants were already acting collectively to place pressure on Amazon to abandon its pricing strategy."
See the text of the court's decision at
United States of America v. Apple, Inc. et al., Case 1:12-cv-02826-DLC, Document 326, filed July 10, 2013.


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