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Apple warns ebook ruling would have "chilling" effect on business

Apple is continuing to deny any involvement in alleged collusion in the ebook industry and has warned that a court verdict against the company would have a “chilling” effect upon business.

The iPhone maker made its closing argument in the three-week case, citing what it called a paucity of evidence, some of which it classified as “ambiguous at best.”

Apple is accused of conspiring with the top five publishers in 2009 and 2010 to fix prices of ebooks, with prosecutors amassing phone calls, emails and written notes suggesting concerted action to oust Amazon, creator of the Kindle, from its ebook throne.

“There is no such thing as conspiracy by telepathy,” said Orin Snyder, Apple's defence attorney, according to AFP, adding: “There's zero evidence that Apple did anything in these negotiations to enforce collective action.”

Last week Eddy Cue, senior executive of iTunes at Apple, blamed the publishers for increases in prices, which forced Amazon, the market leader, to up its prices also. This hurt consumers across the board, who were forced to pay as much as $4 (£2.50) extra per title.

“This was the publishers acting as a group and Apple bringing that group along,” said Mark Ryan, attorney for the US Department of Justice, which launched the case against the Cupertino, California-based firm. “Only a united industry front could move Amazon off its $9.99 price.”

A ruling from Judge Denise Cote is expected within the next few weeks. Apple warned that a decision against it would have a “chilling and confounding effect” on business.