NYC’s U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled against Apple yesterday, giving Amazon a leg up on e-books.
Cote decided that Apple conspired with five of the largest book publishers to raise e-book prices when it launched the iPad in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports. Before that, Amazon had been selling popular books for about $9.99. Publishers weren’t fans of the low prices so Apple came in with a more appealing offer to let publishers choose their own price points. Naturally, those prices were higher.
“Understanding that no one publisher could risk acting alone in an attempt to take pricing power away from Amazon, Apple created a mechanism and environment that enabled them to act together in a matter of weeks to eliminate all retail price competition for their e-books,” Judge Denise Cote wrote.
Emails sent in 2010 by Steve Jobs served as influential evidence against Apple.
In January 30 2010, when Jobs learned that Amazon and publisher MacMillan were having disputes over e-book pricing, he wrote: “Wow, we have really lit a fuse on a powder keg.”
In an email sent the day after Jobs said, “We have definitely helped stir things up in the publishing world.”
Apple plans to fight Cote’s decision. Its spokesperson tells The Wall Street Journal it did nothing wrong on the e-book front.
“When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry,” the spokesperson said.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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