By Daniel Hunter

A US judge has ruled that Apple have conspired to fix the price of electronic books.

Technology giants Apple 'conspired to restrain trade' according to Manhattan Judge Denise Cote.

However, soon after the ruling the company's spokesman Tom Neumayr said Apple would appeal against the ruling and fight what they see as false accusations.

Five publishers that were originally named as defendants alongside Apple have already reached settlements, including Penguin.

The US Department of Justice said the conspiracy was designed to challenge online retailer Amazon's dominance of the fast-growing e-books market.

"The plaintiffs have shown that the publisher defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy," Judge Cote said.

"Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010."

Penguin settled its case for $75m (£49m). Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster created a $69m fund for refunds to consumers, and Macmillan settled for $26m.