A federal judge has issued his ruling today in the ongoing legal war between the U.S. Department of Justice and Apple regarding whether the Cupertino, California-based tech giant conspired with five major publishers to raise the retail prices of e-books.
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.
According to Reuters, the decision could expose Apple to “substantial damages.”
“Apple chose to join forces with the publisher defendants to raise e-book prices and equipped them with the means to do so,” Cote said in a 159-page decision. “Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did.”
“This result is a victory for millions of consumers who choose to read books electronically,” Bill Baer, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, subsequently stated. “This decision by the court is a critical step in undoing the harm caused by Apple’s illegal actions.”
Apple plans to appeal.