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Apple under the gun as US e-book trial starts

Marc Ferranti | June 3, 2013
Apple appears to face an uphill battle as it goes to trial Monday in New York on e-book price fixing charges brought by the U.S. government.

"Stripped of the glitz surrounding e-books and Apple, this is an unremarkable and obvious price-fixing case," the DOJ said in the filing.

In a pretrial hearing last month, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said she believed the government has a strong case.

"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, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that," Cote said, according to published reports.

The U.S. government is not seeking monetary damages or a fine, but wants the judge to order Apple not to engage in conduct related to price fixing in the future.

If the judge rules against Apple, however, it could face a separate trial by state attorneys general and consumers pursuing class actions and seeking monetary damages. Apple last year settled an e-book price-fixing antitrust case with the European Commission.

 

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