Price Fix

NEW YORK, June 3, 2013 (AFP) – A US government lawyer accused Apple Monday of concocting a deliberate scheme to fix prices of electronic books as the antitrust trial against the tech giant got underway. “Apple knowingly and intentionally committed to a common scheme of publishers to raise prices,” Justice Department attorney Lawrence Buterman told the court in an opening statement that laid out the government’s case.

There was a “deliberate scheme by Apple” to “fix prices” in concert with major book publishers, Buterman said at the New York federal trial.

The alleged conspiracy cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in higher book fees, according to the government. The price of e-books soared right after Apple launched its iPad in 2010, the government alleged before a packed courtroom.

Apple attorney Orin Snyder said however that “the government has reverse-engineered a conspiracy” and that Apple was simply competing in the marketplace.

“Apple’s intent was not to upend pricing paradigms throughout the industry, but to build the best bookstore and make sure prices were competitive,” Snyder said in his opening comments.

US antitrust watchdogs have accused Apple of orchestr