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Guilty! Judge rules against Apple in price fixing scandal

Apple iPhone

This is interesting. A federal judge has issued a ruling saying that Apple plotted to raise the retail prices of e-books in order to combat Amazon and called for a trial on damages, reports Reuters.

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“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,” says Judge Denise Cote.

According to the ruling, Apple has been colluding with five publishers to boost e-book prices beginning in late 2009, when it was preparing to launch its tablet offering. Judge Cote sates that the conspiracy saw the iPad maker raise prices for some e-books somewhere between to US$12.99 or US$14.99, while Amazon had sold them for US$9.99.

“Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010,” she added.

Unlike Apple the publishers named — Lagardere SCA’s (LAGA.PA) Hachette Book Group Inc and Macmillan, News Corp’s (NWSA.O) HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Pearson Plc’s (PSON.L) Penguin Group (USA) Inc and CBS Corp’s (CBS.N) Simon & Schuster Inc — decided to settle with the US government and the states rather than go to trial.

This hasn’t been Apple’s week in court. Just yesterday the company lost its “App Store” battle with Amazon, which the Silicon Valley company had been claiming rights to for some time now.

“We no longer see a need to pursue our case. With more than 900 000 apps and 50-billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters.

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