Federal Court: Apple Guilty of E-book Price Fixing

on Wednesday, Jul. 10th

Apple has been found guilty of violating antitrust law when it worked with book publishers to launch the iBookstore three years ago, offering them the ability to set higher prices than allowed by Amazon.

From the New York Times:

“Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010,” the judge, Denise L. Cote of United States District Court in Manhattan, said in her ruling. She said a trial for damages would follow.

Here's the thing that still gets to me: Amazon was the only player real player in the e-book space before the iPad came out. They used that power to strongarm publishers.

What's more important over the long term: low prices for consumers or a sustainable business? One favors growth of marketshare for distributors, the other the existence of an industry.

Amazon is an 800-pound gorilla that routinely takes a loss in order to crowd out competitors. For this behavior Wall Street rewards them over and over. Now the courts have slapped a gold star on their business model.

Enjoy your dystopian megacorp future, everybody.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)


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