Reuters reports US District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found Apple guilty to price fixing in the eBook market. The court ruled that Apple played a central role in a conspiracy with five major publishers to raise the retail prices of eBooks and eliminate retail price competition:
Apple was accused of pursuing the conspiracy to undercut online retailer Amazon.com Inc's e-book dominance, causing some prices to rise to $12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 that Amazon charged. Amazon once held a 90 percent market share.
"Apple chose to join forces with the publisher defendants to raise e-book prices and equipped them with the means to do so," Cote said in a 159-page decision. "Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did."
Wednesday's decision was not a total surprise, given that Cote indicated before the 2-1/2 week non-jury trial began on June 3 that Apple's defenses might fail. Cote ordered a trial to set damages.
Apple claims the allegations are false and said it will appeal Cote's decision.