Judge approves $450 mn deal in Apple ebook suit

November 22, 2014
A US judge has signed off on Apple's $450 million legal deal to compensate consumers harmed by an illegal price-fixing conspiracy for electronic books

A US judge signed off on Apple's $450 million legal deal to compensate consumers harmed by an illegal price-fixing conspiracy for electronic books.

The settlement negotiated to avoid trial in the civil case brought by authorities in 33 states calls on Apple to reimburse consumers to the tune of about $400 million and then pay legal costs and fees.

The settlement was deemed by the court to be "fair, reasonable and adequate."

In an unusual twist, the agreement is contingent on the upholding of a verdict in a July 2013 federal court ruling that Apple violated antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five to raise e-book prices.

Apple is appealing the decision.

If Apple's federal conviction is overturned, no money will be paid. In the case of a retrial, Apple will pay a reduced settlement figure.

Apple declined to comment for this report.

"This settlement proves that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else," New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in June when the agreement was reached.

The case centers on Apple's deal with the publishers as it introduced its iPad tablet, the varied uses of which included a challenge to Amazon's Kindle reader.

The complaint, filed on behalf of consumers, accused Apple of working with five top publishers in 2009-2010 to set the prices of electronic books in an Apple-led effort to break into rival Amazon's dominance of the market.

Their complaint was filed on the heels of July's federal court verdict against the iPhone and iPad maker, finding Apple guilty of conspiracy to fix prices of e-books with the publishers.

The judge in the case issued an injunction barring Apple from any similar practices and ordered the company to work with a court-appointed monitor on compliance.

Prior to Apple's entry into e-books, the publishers—all of whom have settled in the case—complained about Amazon's $9.99 price for most titles.

Apple and the publishers agreed on contracts that let publishers set the price of most bestsellers at $12.99 or $14.99, but Apple won a provision that allowed it to match the prices of Amazon or any other retailer.

Explore further: Apple to pay consumers up to $400 mn in e-books case

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3 comments

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RichManJoe
not rated yet Nov 22, 2014
This is just the cost of doing business. Those Apple executives who made the decisions to break the law and screw the people do not pay a penny out of their pockets in compensation. In fact, they have probably profited through their stocks and stock options. Until these criminals start themselves having to pay hefty fines and start serving hard prison time, there will be no justice. We Want Justice.
Skepticus
not rated yet Nov 22, 2014
We Want Justice.

Don't hold yer breath for it, as long as laws are not rules to be executed, but whimsically interpreted by fallible humans. Justice as it stands now is what you can buy with money, as shown by a "judge" decision to accept peanuts from Apple. I wonder how much he gets aside?
camillarichards75
not rated yet Nov 23, 2014
I'm sure that every company should appreciate its consumers. And in case there's something wrong that the company should pay the money back to its consumers. And especially Apple must do that because they risk damage their reputation. I hope that the judge will make the right decision! For people it's important to receive compensation from the company which did a mistake. I think that many people have applied to companies like CashAdvanceLoanStore to afford buying products made by Apple.

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