A U.S. judge ruled Wednesday that Apple conspired to raise e-book prices, handing the tech giant a bruising loss that could ripple throughout the industry and force companies to rethink how they meet consumer demand for digital products.

For 160 pages, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote scolded Apple for violating antitrust law and colluding with five of the nation's top book publishers to ensure the successful launch of its digital bookstore in 2010.

"Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy," Cote said in her ruling. "Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did."