US lawyers lay into Apple in e-book case

City A.M. Reporter
TECH giant Apple conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books in a scheme costing consumers “hundreds of millions of dollars,” a US government lawyer said yesterday.

A three-week trial got under way before a federal judge in New York in a case pitting the Justice Department against the popular iPad and iPhone maker that could shine a light on the secretive Silicon Valley giant’s business practices.

“Apple told publishers that Apple – and only Apple – could get prices up in their industry,” Justice Department lawyer Lawrence Buterman said during opening arguments.

The trial came more than a year after the Justice Department sued Apple and five of the largest US publishing houses, accusing them of working together illegally to increase e-book prices and undo Amazon’s market control.

Orin Snyder, an attorney for Apple, described the case as “bizarre”. Apple acted in its own business interests in negotiating deals with publishers in the run up to the debut of its iPad in January 2010, he said. The case continues.