It's a rare thing when a judge rules against a massive company like Apple. But, that's exactly what happened this past week. A NY district judge found Apple guilty of raising the prices of e-books. The judge accused Apple of conspiring with Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in order to raise the price of e-books.
This is akin to price fixing, and it won't bode well for Apple. The price that Apple has been accused of raising ebook prices to is nearly double what Amazon has been charging. The judge mentioned above found that Apple has been working with the five publishing companies listed above to create prices that are fixed across the board.
A Serious Accusation
A court will rule next week on damages related to the original ruling. When all is said and done, though, this doesn't put Apple in a positive light. Why would Apple work with publishers to raise the price of ebooks? It really all goes back to Amazon.
You see, Amazon currently offers ebooks at a price that publishers can't compete with. By working with Apple, the publishers mentioned can raise prices effectively. Apple claims that the company did not play a large part in price fixing or conspiring, and that the company did not want to compete with Amazon or any other booksellers. What was Apple going to do?
Breaking It All Down
Basically, Apple was set to work with publishers in order to offer ebooks at a set price. Apple would have acted as the 'agent,' which means that Apple could sell a book at the price that the publisher set. This would have provided some stiff competition for Amazon, since the five publishers listed above are the major publishers in the industry.
Now that the NY court has found Apple guilty, though, this kind of price fixing isn't going to happen. Interestingly, Apple is the only part of this equation that has been sent to court. The five publishing houses mentioned all settled out of court and dealt with states individually. Apple does plan to appeal the NY judge's decision, so this battle isn't over yet.
Not Such a Surprise
Some aren't surprised at all that Apple was involved in this scheme. Others are happy that Apple has been found guilty. Apparently, this whole plan was hatched when Steve Jobs was still in charge, and the current Apple team just carried out the details.
This isn't the type of publicity that any company wants to have, but it's publicity all the same. What does this mean for Apple? Nothing yet; but if the company can't successfully appeal the ruling, Apple will be paying a price when it comes to damages. What that price will be, however, is unclear. Seemingly, Apple will be paying a price similar to what those five publishing companies paid out of court, but Apple's penalty could be different.
What do you think? Is this a shocker? Are you surprised that Apple was wrapped up in such a plan? Sound off below!