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Apple Guilty of Colluding on E-Book Pricing, Judge Says

Apple is bound to appeal after the court fixes on a penalty next week

A US federal judge Wednesday found Apple guilty of colluding with five publishers and artificially driving up the price of e-books before it entered the market with the debut of the iPad in 2010.

Apple is bound to appeal after the court fixes on a penalty next week.

The Justice Department claimed Apple let the publisher set higher prices on bestsellers and new releases as a way to offset Amazon's low $9.99 price point on the same books. As a result the DOJ said e-book prices in general rose to $12.99-$14.99.

The publishers settled with the government ahead of trial but a resolute Apple, apparently acting on principle, refused to settle and denied any price-fixing.

It did settle with the European Commission last year without admitting any wrongdoing.

The judge's 160-page ruling said, "The plaintiffs have shown that the publisher defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy. Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010."

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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