A federal judge has found that Apple colluded with the big five publishers to illegally set prices for ebooks. The court stated that Apple “played a central role in facilitating and executing” a scheme with the big five publishers to keep ebook prices high in the face of fierce competition from Amazon.
Federal Judge Denise L. Cote stated that the trial on damages will follow.
The impact of decision on the ebook buying public will be minimal. The big five publishers all earlier settled anti-trust claims brought by the United States Department of Justice. All five are now operating under a consent decree that prohibits those publishers from withholding their ebooks from discount sellers.
The antitrust claim came about when Apple and the big five publishers tried to made a dent in Amazon's domination of the ebook market. They withheld their most popular titles from Amazon unless the books were sold at a minimum price, thereby trying to thwart Amazon's pricing structure.
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