US District Judge Denise Cote said the US Justice Department has evidence that Apple conspired with publishers to raise book prices, Reuters reports.
However, she quickly added that her “tentative view” is not final, because she hasn’t yet read all the documentation. But this could add further pressure on Apple and suggests it would be better to settle the lawsuit as the other defendants did.
“I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that,” Cote said.
Orin Snyder, a lawyer for Apple, said in a statement, “We strongly disagree with the court’s preliminary statements about the case today.”
The Justice Department declined to comment.
The Judge’s thoughts come after Apple has pointed to evidence that the publishers were already outraged at Amazon’s policy of keeping e-book prices low. According to their evidence, Apple initially contacted the publishers and its proposed 30% cut from e-book proceeds received a somewhat lukewarm reaction, with each publisher having its own proposal for Apple.