AUSTIN A federal court today found Apple Inc. unlawfully conspired with major U.S. publishers to raise the prices of electronic books. In a ruling issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Apple’s role in an E-books price-fixing scheme was found to violate antitrust laws.
The court’s order was issued after a three-week civil antitrust trial before Judge Denise Cote, which began June 3 and ended June 20. The trial did not address the issue of monetary damages, which will be the subject of a future proceeding.
The court found that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing the conspiracy to raise E-book prices and that Apple’s orchestration of the conspiracy was necessary to its success.
The five publishers Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; Simon & Schuster Inc.; Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; and Penguin Group (USA), Inc. previously settled the states’ claims against them prior to trial, resulting in customers nationwide receiving $166 million in compensation.
The litigation which included a group of 33 states led by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice and settlements stem from a two-year investigation conducted by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice.