US Appeals Court rules Apple conspired with publishers to fix e-book prices

The Apple Inc. logo is seen in the lobby of New York City's flagship Apple store January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar Thomson ReutersThe Apple Inc. logo is seen in the lobby of New York City’s flagship Apple store

A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday said Apple Inc orchestrated a conspiracy with five publishers to increase e-book prices.

By a 2-1 vote, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court judge that the conspiracy violated federal antitrust law, and that the judge acted properly in imposing an injunction to prevent a recurrence.

Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston said that by organising the conspiracy, “Apple found an easy path to opening its iBookstore,” while ensuring that marketwide prices rose to a level that Apple and the publishers wanted.

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