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Apple to Be Punished Again for Ebook Cartel

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The company is now facing the price for refusing to admit that it did something wrong: namely, ran an illegal pricing cartel in order to jack up the price of electronic books. Although all of Apple’s co-conspirators have already confessed and paid a reduced fine, the company for some reason cannot give up and admit that what it did was illegal. The problem is that Steve Jobs believed that it was right and his company cannot face the reality where he might have been wrong, even though he’s already dead.

Industry observers point out that things are starting to get worse for the tech giant, as Apple keeps spending a fortune on lawyers who try to fend off lawsuits that are definitely a losing battle.

A few days ago the company lost an attempt to dismiss lawsuits by state attorneys general which accused Apple of conspiring with 5 major publishers to fix ebook prices. The recent ruling of the US District Judge paves the way for attorneys general in 33 states and territories and attorneys for consumers to move forward and pursue hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

The US District Judge found that the company from 2009 to 2010 conspired with the publishers to increase e-book prices and impede competitors like Amazon. As expected, Apple said it would appeal the ruling.

The states had made an attempt to get an injunction against Apple which called for the appointment of a compliance monitor. However, as the case moved into a damages phase, the company managed to argue that the authorities lacked standing to maintain an action for damages, arguing they hadn’t alleged they had suffered any injury.

The judge pointed out that it was easy to conclude the states had standing to move forward with the case, while the company’s defense seemed to be based on the argument “’cause-Jobs-said-so”. At the moment, the states’ case is being led by attorneys general in Texas and Connecticut, along with attorneys for the plaintiffs, seeking $840 million in damages overall.

It should be noted that all the publishers previously agreed to pay over $166 million to settle related antitrust charges, but Apple keeps denying it has done anything wrong and has no intention to settle.

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