Federal judge: Apple conspired to raise e-book prices

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the company plans to appeal the ruling

Topics: Associated Press, Apple, Tom Neumayr, ebooks, Steve Jobs, ,

Federal judge: Apple conspired to raise e-book prices

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. broke antitrust laws and conspired with publishers to raise electronic book prices, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, citing “compelling evidence” from the words of the late Steve Jobs.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said Apple knew that no publisher could risk acting alone to try to eliminate Amazon.com’s $9.99 price for the most popular e-books so it “created a mechanism and environment that enabled them to act together in a matter of weeks to eliminate all retail price competition for their e-books.”

The Manhattan jurist, who did not determine damages, added: “The evidence is overwhelming that Apple knew of the unlawful aims of the conspiracy and joined the conspiracy with the specific intent to help it succeed.”

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company planned to appeal.

“Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations,” he said. “We’ve done nothing wrong.”

Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer called the ruling “a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically.”

He said the judge 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.

“Through today’s court decision and previous settlements with five major publishers, consumers are again benefiting from retail price competition and paying less for their e-books,” he said.

Apple attorney Orin Snyder had told Cote previously that she would set a “dangerous precedent” if she concluded that Apple manipulated e-book prices as it entered the market in 2010. He did not immediately respond to a message for comment Wednesday.

Neumayr said Apple’s introduction of the iBookstore “gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.”

The government claimed Apple and the publishers agreed to a pricing policy that forced millions of consumers to pay several dollars more for most online books. In her ruling, Cote said “compelling evidence of Apple’s participation in the conspiracy came from the words uttered by Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, CEO and visionary.”



She quoted Jobs, who died in 2011, as saying he understood publishers’ concerns that Amazon’s $9.99 price for new releases was eroding the perceived value of their products and that Apple was willing to try pricing e-books at $12.99 and $14.99. She noted that Jobs bought an e-book for $14.99 at the launch of Apple’s e-book store and told a reporter that day that Amazon’s $9.99 price for the same book would be irrelevant because soon all prices will “be the same.”

“Apple has struggled mightily to reinterpret Jobs’s statements in a way that will eliminate their bite,” Cote wrote in the 160-page opinion. “Its efforts have proven fruitless.”

Cote said damages could be determined at a later point, though she did not immediately schedule a trial on them.

The state attorneys general are seeking unspecified damages. The federal government is seeking an order that Apple be banned for two years from agreements that let publishers rather than retailers set prices and that the company be prohibited from future antitrust law violations. The Justice Department also is asking Apple to establish an antitrust compliance program and antitrust training for executives and to put in place an independent monitoring trustee.

The trial had featured testimony from executives for Apple, publishers and Seattle-based Amazon.com. Witnesses from the publishing industry conceded that they were disappointed that Amazon.com was selling e-books so inexpensively when Apple came along in late 2009 with plans for its e-book store.

“Through their conspiracy they forced Amazon (and other resellers) to relinquish retail pricing authority and then they raised retail e-book prices,” Cote wrote. “Those higher prices were not the result of regular market forces but of a scheme in which Apple was a full participant.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/apple-ebook-trial-93947.html#ixzz2YfF0P1is

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...