A federal court found Apple Inc. unlawfully conspired with major U.S. publishers to raise the prices of electronic books. The U.S. Department of Justice, Utah and 32 other states filed an antitrust lawsuit claiming Apple was involved in a price fixing scheme for E-book sales.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued the order on Wednesday after a three-week civil antitrust trial in June before Judge Denise Cote. The trial did not address the issue of monetary damages, which will be the subject of a future proceeding.
The court found Apple “played a central role in facilitating and executing” the conspiracy to raise E-book prices – and that “Apple’s orchestration” of the conspiracy was necessary to its success.
Five publishers – Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; Simon & Schuster Inc.; Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; and Penguin Group (USA), Inc. – previously settled the states’ claims against them prior to trial, resulting in customers nationwide receiving $166 million in compensation when approved by the court.
Utah consumers will get about $1.5 million from the nationwide settlements with the five major book publishers. Assistant Attorneys General Ronald Ockey and David Sonnenreich represented Utah on the E-book cases.