Apple has been dragged in the courtroom once again, but not over patents. This time, the tech giant was being accused of conspiring with publishing houses to fix ebook prices in its iBook Store. The litigations came to an end when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled on the case in New York this week.
The outcome of the trial wasnâ€™t as bad as Apple feared, but still, an external monitor was assigned to watch over Appleâ€™s compliance policies and procedures for the next two years. However, the U.S. Justice Department was not pleased, as they sought a broader injunction that would have covered not only ebook business but movies, music and TV shows.
On July 10, Judge Cote ruled that the Cupertino tech giant was suspected of maneuvering ebook prices with five important publishing houses. They include notable names like Lagarde SCAâ€™s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corpâ€™s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Random House LLC, CBS Corpâ€™s Simion & Schunster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbHâ€™s Macmillian.
Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department commented on the ruling:
â€œConsumers will continue to benefit from lower ebook prices as a result of the departmentâ€™s enforcement action to restore competition in this important industry.â€ Apple on the other hand did not take the verdict lightly and stated that it will appeal the ruling. Spokesman Tom Neumayr said on behalf of the company:
â€œApple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing. The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.â€