Judge Rules that Apple Conspired to Raise Prices on eBooks
Judge Cote is back in court today with a ruling in the anti-trust trial against Apple. The judge found that Apple did indeed conspire to raise ebook prices, a decision that should have come as no surprise to anyone paying attention.
The trial had concluded on 20 June after the DOJ presented a solid case which showed that Apple was the hub of a conspiracy involving 5 US publishers. All 5 of those publishers had settled long before the trial began, with Macmillan settling last.
A new trial is going to be held so the DOJ and the states can sue for damages. There aren’t any details about that new trial just yet, but I do know that Apple is planning to file an appeal.
Given that Apple’s co-conspirators settled with the DOJ months ago and that Apple settled a similar lawsuit in Europe, I have to wonder why Apple fought this out to the bitter end. Surely even they could see that they would lose; even Macmillan reached that conclusion months ago.
P.S. What’s even stranger, as one blogger points out, is that Apple engaged in the conspiracy in the first place. They didn’t need to launch iBooks with the iPad; it was going to be a great tablet no matter whether Apple had an ebookstore or not. And it’s not like the iPad wouldn’t have reading apps in short order; Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and other ebookstores were all going to work as fast as possible to release an app for Apple’s hot new gadget.
image by Ana Paula Hirama