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Apple Guilty Of E-Books Price Fixing, Judge Rules

e-bookApple Inc. conspired with publishers to fix e-book prices,a civil lawsuit brought by the Justice Department reached its conclusion.

Damages to be imposed on Apple

According to Manhattan Judge Denise Cote, the iPad maker “conspired to restrain trade.”

However, the company’s spokesman, Tom Neumayr, said Apple would appeal against the ruling and fight the “false allegations.”

Five publishers that were named as defendants along with Apple have already reached decisions, including Penguin. The U.S. judge ordered a new hearing to decide the damages to be imposed on Apple. The U.S. Department of Justice said the conspiracy was intended to challenge online retailer Amazon’s dominance of the rapidly growing e-books market.

‘Victory for consumers’

Penguin settled its case for $75 million. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster made a $69 million fund for refunds to customers, while Macmillan settled for $26 million.

Judge Cote said in a statement, “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.”

US Assistant Attorney General, Bill Baer, said the judge’s ruling is “a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically.”