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Apple Goes to Trial over Allegations of E-Book Price Fixing
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Apple Inc is set to face trial on Monday over allegations brought by federal and state authorities involving conspiracy with a group of publishers to fix the prices of e-books. The case would test the limits of interaction between retailers and content providers on the internet.

The original lawsuit was filed by the Department of Justice in April 2012. Original defendants included Apple and five out of the six largest book publishers in the country. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants had conspired to raise the prices of e-books and break the dominance of Amazon.

All five book publishers have already settled with the DOJ, agreed to eliminate controversial terms on wholesale discounts and also agreed to pay collectively an amount of $164 million for the benefit of consumers.

  
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The publishers who have settled with the government include Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, Simon & Schuster Inc, Hachette Book Group Inc and McMillan.

Apple maintains innocence and would face the trial alone.

In the federal lawsuit, the DOJ is not seeking damages, but an order preventing Apple from engaging in similar conduct. However, if Apple is held liable at the trial, it can face lawsuits seeking damages from states.

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Those aware of the situation believe that Apple would face a tough trial as on May 23, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who would be hearing the case alone, and without a jury, had commented, “I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books.”

However, in an interview on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there was no chance of Apple going for a settlement as the company was “not going to sign something that says we did something we didn’t do.”





 

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