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In a strongly worded opinion, US District Judge Denise Cote strongly rejected requests by Apple and book publishers to throw out a class action suit that accuses them of price-fixing.
Citing ongoing state, federal and international anti-trust investigations, Cote flatly rejected arguments that Apple and the publishers had acted independently when they changed the pricing model for e-books.
Cote’s opinion is at times remarkable for the emphatic language in which she decries the alleged conspiracy. It is also noteworthy for on several occasions citing the late Steve Jobs to suggest that Apple was at the center of it:
In short, Apple did not try to earn money off of eBooks by competing with other retailers in an open market; rather, Apple “accomplished this goal by [helping] the suppliers to collude, rather than to compete independently.”
Finally, Jobs’ prescient prediction at the iPad launch that the prices consumers would be paying for eBooks would all “be the same” and the other quotations from Jobs, Murdoch and Sargent, combine to provide ample evidence that the Publisher Defendants had agreed with each other to undertake collective action to raise eBooks’ prices and that Apple intentionally and knowingly joined that conspiracy.
Apple has argued that its entry to the e-book market was pro-competitive at a time when Amazon controlled 90 percent of the market. The company has also stated that it had no motive to raise e-book prices at a time when it was looking to attract content onto its new iPad tablet.