US Court Rules Apple Fixed Prices
In a 2-1 vote, the guilty verdict says Apple Fixed Prices and broke antitrust laws with its e-book business. Accused of price collusion e-book prices rose from $9.99 to $14.99 in 2010. Apple will be forced to pay back consumers $450 million settlement unless it appeals the decision with the Supreme Court.
The case is part of an ongoing saga of appeals that began in 2013. Another court decision found Apple fixed prices of ebooks in a conspiracy with a number of publishers to eliminate retail competition and raise prices. This scheme, purpots the court, caused e-book prices to jump from $9.99 to $12.99 to $14.99 – matching market leader Amazon.
We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps – Apple said in a statement.
Judge Dennis Jacobs, holder of the dissenting vote, pointed out in his notes that Apple took steps to compete with Amazon. A company he believes holds a monopoly on ebooks.
Amazon is not exempt from its own share of legal trouble. The company came under fire over tough negotiation tactics. While battling with Hachette publishing house over revenue sharing Amazon stopped the sale of a number of books by the publisher. Even pre-orders of J.K. Rowling’s The Silkworm were blocked. Other Hachette authors include Malcom Gladwell and James Patterson.
The strong words of the judge hint to the extent of the debate. The competing, and victorious, theory countering judge Jacobs that all parties involved in conspiracy resulting in higher consumer prices violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. No exceptions.
Apple declined to state whether they would pursue a higher verdict. At this point only the Supreme Court remains. However, the company does not seem inclined towards giving up, especially when you consider how many steps they have taken thus far.
Images from Shutterstock and Flickr.