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Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 08:14 am PT (11:14 am ET)

Apple to appeal e-book decision, maintains company did 'nothing wrong'

Apple will appeal a federal judge's decision that the iPad maker conspired with publishers to raise the prices of electronic books, with a spokesperson for the Cupertino company saying it has done nothing wrong in its dealings with publishers.

iBooks


"Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said shortly after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote handed down her decision on Wednesday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We've done nothing wrong."

Neumayr's contention is in keeping with Apple's position throughout the trial, in which Apple was accused encouraging publishing houses to set a base price for their e-books. At the time, the publishers were largely beholden to e-retail giant Amazon, which often sold books at a loss in order to support its Kindle business.

Apple, though, maintained throughout the trial that the Justice Department's allegations were false. The iPad maker held this position even as each of its publishing partners eventually reached out-of-court settlements with the government.

Over the course of the trial, Apple executives took to the stand to deny the Justice Department's claims. Senior vice president Eddy Cue testified that Apple "didn't care" what prices companies set for content sold through the iBookstore. Apple called the case "bizarre" and said that the government's evidence was "ambiguous at best."

Judge Cote, however, found that the government's case sufficient for a finding of liability.

"The question in this case has always been a narrow one: whether Apple participated in a price-fixing scheme in violation of this country's antitrust laws," Cote wrote. "Apple is liable here for facilitating and encouraging the Publisher Defendants' collective, illegal restraint of trade."

The grounds on which Apple will appeal are as yet unknown. The company may take issue with Cote's handling of the trial, as the jurist offered her tentative view of the DOJ's case before the trial began. Cote said that, based on the evidence she had seen, it appeared likely that the Justice Department would be able to prove its case against Apple.