Judge Says Apple Conspired In 2010 With Five Publishers To Artificially Hike Prices On E-books, Rules Tech Giant Liable For Restraint Of Trade

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A woman holds up an iPad with the iTunes U app after a news conference introducing a digital textbook service in New York January 19, 2012. Apple Inc unveiled a new digital textbook service called iBooks 2 on Thursday, aiming to revitalize the U.S. education market and quicken the adoption of its market-leading iPad.

A federal judge in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) conspired to raise the retail price of e-books in the months preceding its entering the market in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote's decision in the nonjury trial that ended on June 20 is a victory for the U.S. government and also for various states involved in the price-fixing case, which focused on allegations that Apple and five big publishers conspired to raise prices in 2010.

The publishers in the case have already settled with the federal government on e-book pricing, but Cote said states are entitled to injunctive relief.

"Apple is liable here for facilitating and encouraging the Publisher Defendants' collective, illegal restraint of trade," Cote wrote in her opinion.

A trial for damages will follow.

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