A federal judge found Apple, Inc. guilty of conspiring to fix prices of ebooks sold online on Wednesday, ending a longstanding, high-profile case initiated by the US Department of Justice against the tech giant. The result is a major win for the DOJ, but what happens next? According to reports, Apple has stated it would appeal the decision and denied any wrongdoing; Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr called the allegations against the tech giant “false” and insisted Apple introduced necessary innovation into the market at the time the DOJ accuses the company of antitrust violations. Further, the presiding judge, US District Judge Denise Cote, said she would schedule a damages trial for the 33 states’ attorneys general, which also brought the case against Apple along with federal regulators.
While the nation awaits to see the exact repercussions of the lawsuit, analysis is already swarming around the case’s outcome. According to some experts, the lawsuit is a reminder of the hazards of technological innovation. Yale Law School antitrust professor George Priest told Forbes said he is not certain the decision will stand, and described the new method of selling ebooks invented by Apple is “a good thing.”
Others say that while consumers may not see too much of a difference in ebooks prices, Apple could be in for major changes in the way the company does business. According to author Laura Hazard Owen at PaidContent, Apple could possibly be barred from including most-favored-nation clauses in its contracts with any publishers in the future. Or, said Owen, the company could be forced to allow ebooks sellers to sell products through the Apple store without the tech firm taking the typical 30 percent cut it takes from in-app purchases; the DOJ has suggested this plan.
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