The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Apple reaches settlement on damages owed in antitrust case on fixing prices of digital books

  • Print

Apple has reached a settlement on the damages owed to consumers for orchestrating a scheme to drive up the prices of digital books.

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed in a document filed late Monday. More details will emerge in a filing due by July 16 in a New York federal court.

Lawyers representing consumers across the country had been seeking up to $840 million in damages. A trial on the damages claims had been scheduled to begin Aug. 25 in New York.

In another trial last year, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that the iPad and iPhone maker colluded with several major publishers to boost electronic book prices from April 2010 to May 2012.

Apple Inc. has appealed Cote's decision. The Cupertino, California, company has steadfastly contended that its deals with several major publishers helped foster competition by giving consumers more choices in an electronic book market that had been dominated by Amazon.com Inc.

If Apple prevails on the appeal, the settlement on the damages becomes moot.

Steven Berman, a Seattle lawyer representing the shoppers in the suit, declined to comment on the settlement Tuesday because of a court order.

Apple also declined to comment.

Five major publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin Group — were found to be involved in the price-fixing conspiracy. Those publishers previously agreed to pay a total of about $166 million to cover their damages.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed its antitrust case against Apple and the publishers in 2012 after an investigation concluded that Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, came up with a new pricing formula designed to counter Amazon's aggressive discounting on digital books.

Jobs worked out the agreements as Apple was preparing to introduce its iPad to compete against Amazon's electronic reader, the Kindle.

The arrangements resulted in digital books selling for several dollars above the $9.99 pricing standard that Amazon had been pushing.

Apple's plot resulted in millions of consumers being overcharged for electronic books, according to the lawsuits filed by 33 states and U.S. territories and other lawyers representing consumers across the country. The damages were being sought as part of those lawsuits.

An expert hired by the suing attorneys estimated that the higher prices for electronic books collectively cost buyers an additional $280 million. Those damages could have been tripled under U.S. antitrust law.

Attorneys general in 24 of the states involved in the case also were seeking to force Apple to pay another $9 million in civil penalties, according to estimates in court documents. It's unclear if the settlement will cover the additional penalties sought by those states.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Raw: Video shows destroyed West Hawk Inn

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • May 22, 2012 - 120522  - Westminster United Church photographed Tuesday May 22, 2012 .  John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new school-zone speed limit?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google