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Apple Settles E-Book Price-fixing Lawsuit

TMCnet Feature

June 17, 2014

Apple Settles E-Book Price-fixing Lawsuit

By Cristina Naldini
Contributing Writer

Apple (News - Alert) has reached an out-of-court settlement with U.S. states and consumers in the company’s e-book price fixing lawsuit, and avoids a trial that could have cost the company as much as 840 million dollars in damages, three times the amount Apple was accused of overcharging (280 million dollars). 

Monday, in a New York federal court, an attorney representing consumers from thirty different states said both sides agreed upon a tentative deal. The details of this agreement have yet to surface, as the settlement is contingent upon a decision in a separate case—one that Apples plans to fight all the way to the Supreme Court.  In this case, federal prosecutors brought antitrust charges against Apple and several book publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck, Macmillan, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster.

Image via Shutterstock

Apple is accused of conspiring with publishers to raise the price of e-books, which unfairly made the e-books more expensive and prevented price competition on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The collusion increased prices from $9.99 to $12.99 or in some cases $14.99.

In 2012, three of the publishers settled in federal court. Consumers were rewarded with credits, and publishers had to redo their deals with retailers. In 2013, Apple lost its trial, and U.S. District Judge Denise Cote forced the company to take on a court-appointed ex-prosecutor to monitor the company internally and review its compliance with antitrust laws.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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