Apple Found Guilty Of Colluding To Raise E-book Prices

FORTUNE — In a 160-page ruling following a three-week bench trial, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has found that Apple (AAPL) did indeed violate the Sherman antitrust act by conspiring with five publishers to raise the price of e-books.

The key paragraph:

“The Plaintiffs have shown that the Publisher Defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy. Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the Spring of 2010.”

Although the judge had announced before the trial began that she believed the Department of Justice would prove its case, the ruling comes as a surprise to observers who heard Apple’s defense.

The facts were less in dispute than the rules governing a distributor like Apple, which recent antitrust case law treats differently than competitors — such as book publishers — forming a horizontal agreement to fix prices.


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