A federal judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] on Friday denied Apple's [corporate website] request for a temporary suspension of the court's July ruling [JURIST report] that Apple violated the Sherman Act [text] and various state statutes in an e-book price-fixing conspiracy. Despite Apple's continued denial [AP report] of the charges, US District Judge Denise Cote emphasized the need to suppress such collusive activity. Cote singled out Apple as a central force [Reuters report] in the entire price-fixing operation, portraying a company known so well for its image-minded marketing and business model as a disreputable market participant.
In May Judge Cote gave a tentative opinion [JURST report] that the government would be successful in its antitrust claim. The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] alleged that Apple, Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., Macmillan and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. conspired to fix the prices of e-books in response to Amazon's discount pricing strategy. The DOJ originally brought the suit in April 2012, and the court denied a motion to dismiss [JURIST reports] in May of last year. Commentators had been very mixed in response to the proposed settlement agreement. Some have suggested that the DOJ's lawsuit is merely "superficial" [JURIST op-ed] and that the effect of the agency agreements may actually have been a net-positive to consumers if Amazon was selling e-books at a loss in order to drive the sale of Kindles.