United States v. Apple, Inc., No. 13-3741 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The Justice Department and 33 states and territories filed suit alleging that Apple, in launching the iBookstore, had conspired with the Publisher Defendants to raise prices across the nascent ebook market, in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. 1 et seq., and state antitrust laws. All five Publisher Defendants settled and signed consent decrees, which prohibited them, for a period, from restricting ebook retailers’ ability to set prices. The district court found that the agreement constituted a per se violation of the Sherman Act and, in the alternative, unreasonably restrained trade under the rule of reason. The district court issued an injunctive order that, inter alia, prevents Apple from entering into agreements with the Publisher Defendants that restrict its ability to set, alter, or reduce the price of ebooks, and requires Apple to apply the same terms and conditions to ebook applications sold on its devices as it does to other applications. The court concluded that the district court’s decision that Apple orchestrated a horizontal conspiracy among the Publisher Defendants to raise ebook prices is amply supported and well‐reasoned, and that the agreement unreasonably restrained trade in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act. The court also concluded that the district court’s injunction is lawful and consistent with preventing future anticompetitive harms. The court rejected Macmillan and Simon & Schuster's argument that the portion of the injunction related to Apple’s pricing authority either unlawfully modifies their consent decrees or should be judicially estopped. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.