In a rare pre-trial opinion, the presiding Judge has said that the prosecution will be able to prove that Apple colluded with publishers to artificially inflate the price of e-books in its iBookstore.

In an unusual move Judge Denise Cote has given her "tentative view" and agreed that Apple did indeed collude with publishers to fix the price of e-books, according to the evidence available to her.

The Judge said: "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".

She was quick to note, however, that her opinion was not final and all the evidence had not been accounted for.

Shell-shocked

In a prepared statement, Apple's legal representatives remarked: "We strongly disagree with the court's preliminary statements about the case today.

"We look forward to presenting our evidence in open court and proving that Apple did not conspire to fix prices."

The emails that Judge Denise could be referring to is an email by exchange between James Murdoch, the then CEO of News Corp, and the late Steve Jobs. An email in which Jobs clearly discusses a pricing strategy.

The Judge's comments came at a pre-trial hearing yesterday and the case is expected to go to full trial on the 3rd June.

Via Apple Insider