Top Apple exec: 'I knew [ebook] prices were going to go up – hell, the whole world knew'

Eddy Cue blasts cyber-tome price-fix ruling ahead of appeal

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The head of Apple's software and services has hit out at a court ruling against the iTunes giant in a lawsuit over ebook price-fixing.

Speaking in an interview with Fortune, senior vice-president Eddy Cue said Apple will fight to overturn its conviction for conspiring with publishers to inflate the price of digital titles.

The Cupertino biz was found guilty of violating federal antitrust law, but has appealed the ruling. It faces paying out $450m to customers in refunds if it ultimately loses its battle.

Cue freely admits Apple worked with publishers to fix the prices readers paid for ebooks, but argues Apple was being unfairly singled out when all it really wanted to do was bring electronic copies to the (paying) masses.

"If you want to convict us on that, then we're guilty. I knew some prices were going to go up, but hell, the whole world knew it, because that’s what the publishers were saying: ‘We want to get retailers to raise prices, and if we’re not able to, we’re not going to make the books available digitally'," Cue said.

"At the same time, other prices went down too, because now there was competition in the market. We feel we have to fight for the truth."

The $450m penalty won't be a crippling financial blow for Apple. The Cupertino giant posted a net profit of $8.5bn in the past financial quarter alone and possesses a market cap of about $675bn. ®

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