A US judge has ordered Apple's chief executive Tim Cook to testify in Apple e-book price fixing case.
Cook will be forced to sit down with US lawmakers to discuss Apple's history with e-book pricing. Apple is currently in the midst of a lengthy antitrust case which alleges the firm conspired with book publishers to artificially control the price of e-books.
Apple had hoped to avoid having Cook testify in the case, arguing that all relevant information in the case could be discovered without the need of Apple's chief executive.
"The Government should not be permitted to depose Apple's current [chief executive] on a fishing expedition for what would be, at best, cumulative testimony," wrote Apple's legal council in a letter to the court.
The judge who oversaw the ruling disagreed with the firm's assessment. She found that Cook's testimony would be relevant on the grounds that he would have had conversations about e-books with Apple founder Steve Jobs.
According to the judge, Cook should have key information explaining Apple's thoughts on entering the e-book market.
"Because of the [passing of Steve Jobs], I think the government is entitled to take testimony from high-level executives within Apple about topics relevant to the government case," US District Judge Denise Cote said in a conversation with Reuters.
The e-book antitrust suit dates back to last year. US officials alleged that Apple and five book publishers worked together to artificially control e-book prices. The five publishers originally accused in the case have all settled the issue out of court.
Under current Apple pricing policies, the firm takes a 30 percent cut of e-book sales. Law enforcement officials claim that the policy forces book publishers to unfairly mandate the retail prices of their books.
According to the allegations, the e-book price fixing hurts competition by preventing individual merchants from setting their own e-book prices.
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