We've been waiting over 6 months for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to render a verdict on Apple's latest bid to overturn the 2013 judgment that it had violated US antitrust laws, and the day of jubilee has arrived.
A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday said Apple orchestrated a conspiracy with five publishers to increase ebook prices.
By a 2-1 vote, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with District Court Judge Denise Cote that the conspiracy violated federal antitrust law, and that the judge acted properly in imposing an injunction to prevent a recurrence.
Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston said that by organizing the conspiracy, "Apple found an easy path to opening its iBookstore," while ensuring that market-wide prices rose to a level that Apple and the publishers wanted.
The dissenting judge disagreed, obviously. Judge Dennis Jacobs conceded to Judge Cote's finding of fact but still argued a "two wrongs make a right" argument. He believed that the rule of reason should be applied
Apple's conduct, assessed under the rule of reason on the horizontal plane of retail competition, was unambiguously and overwhelmingly pro- competitive. Apple was a major potential competitor in a market dominated by a 90 percent monopoly, and was justifiably unwilling to enter a market on terms that would assure a loss on sales or exact a toll on its reputation."
Apple is probably going to appeal to the US Supreme Court; would you care to make a bet on their chances?
image by GDS-Productions
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, editing and additional detail provided by Nate Hoffelder)