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Apple Looks to Take Ebook Case to Supreme Court

The company said the case “presents issues of surpassing importance to the United States economy.”
September 17, 2015, 5:22pm

Image: Anita Hart/Flickr

Apple said on Wednesday it plans to take a case accusing the company of fixing ebook prices to the Supreme Court, saying it "presents issues of surpassing importance to the United States economy."

The company filed papers challenging a 2013 decision that found it liable for conspiring with publishers to raise the cost of e-books, according to Fortune, requesting 30-day extension to file its formal submission.

Apple argued in its filing that at the time the iPad launched, Amazon controlled 90 percent of the market for ebooks, and used that monopoly to retail certain e-books below cost. In order to to enter the market with the iBooks store and compete with Amazon, Apple arranged with six publishers to switch from a wholesale model to the agency model in early 2010. This allowed Apple to match or beat Amazon's prices.

However, after Apple's bookstore launched, prices on many categories of ebooks increased immediately. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote called the scheme "blatant price fixing." Apple appealed the decision and it was held up by the Second Circuit 2-1 in June.

"Plainly, competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new ebook retailer at the expense of passing control over all ebook prices to a cartel of book publishers," Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the Second Circuit wrote after the ruling at the time.

If Wednesday's request for an extension is upheld, Apple will have until October 28 to appeal to the Supreme Court.