Apple will fight the ebook price fixing ruling, the company has said today, promising to appeal the court’s decision and accusing Amazon of having a “monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.” The official statement follows a New York federal court ruling this morning that Apple colluded with five major publishers to force the ebook industry to the so-called “agency model” and, in the process, drive up prices – and margins – on ebook downloads for the iBookstore.
Apple, Justice Denise Cote wrote in a 160-page ruling on the case brought by the DOJ, “played a central role in facilitating and executing” a conspiracy to raise the cost of ebooks. Until Apple’s launch of the iBookstore, new releases had been around $9.99 on Amazon. After publishers made their push to the agency model, that rose to, on average, $14.99.
“Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the Spring of 2010” Justice Cote concluded.
However, unsurprisingly Apple is not willing to accept the court’s decision, and will fight the ruling in an appeal. “Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations” the company said in a statement. “When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.”
“We’ve done nothing wrong and we will appeal the judge’s decision” the spokesperson said.
With the initial case concluded, next up is a trial to settle on damages. There’s no indication as to what Apple might eventually be required to pay – both to the US government and to numerous states – though Penguin, which voluntarily settled (as did all the publishers involved) with the DOJ coughed up $75m including damages.
Amazon is yet to comment on the ruling, or indeed Apple’s portrayal of it as “monopolistic.”