In 2013, a US Federal judge ruled that Apple conspired with major publishers to raise prices on e-books following the launch of the iBookstore.
Now, a US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the decision.
In a 2-to-1 ruling, the court concluded that Apple did, in fact, orchestrate a conspiracy to raise ebook prices.
“We conclude that the district court correctly decided that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among the publishers to raise ebook prices, that the conspiracy unreasonably restrained trade in violation of §1 of the Sherman Act, and that the injunction is properly calibrated to protect the public from future anticompetitive harms. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed,” said the court’s decision.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, Apple’s decision to go to trial was a bold one.
The 2-1 ruling Tuesday by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan follows three years of litigation, millions of dollars in legal fees and a bold decision by Apple to challenge the U.S. Department of Justice to a trial, even after all the publishers with which it was accused of colluding had settled their cases.
Apple will pay $450 million – mostly to e-book customers.
Apple’s original argument was that the lawsuit was flawed from the start.
“Apple’s entry into e-book distribution is classic procompetitive conduct that created competition where none existed
“For Apple to be subject to hindsight legal attack for a business strategy well-recognized as perfectly proper sends the wrong message to the market. The government’s complaint against Apple is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law,” said Apple back in 2012.