Apple Colluded on e-Book Prices, Judge Finds

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found “compelling evidence” that Apple violated federal antitrust law by playing a “central role” in a conspiracy with the publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices.

Apple adds competition to the eBook in the form of a new, credible distribution platform. This prompts book publishers to tell Amazon that they need to negotiate more palatable prices or make do without them. And in the aftermath, everyone but Amazon gets charged for anti-competitive practices — conspiring to increase eBook prices.

Look… I hate to pay eBooks for $9.95 or $14.95 as much as the next person. I think eBooks ought to be sold for a buck or three. And Apple deserves a good beating if it conspired indeed. Still, I find it shocking that everyone seemed perfectly content with the previous situation, i.e. with Amazon keeping competitors from emerging by selling eBooks at a loss.