The long drawn out e-book price fixing lawsuit is reaching the end of its life as Apple has agreed to settle out of court for damages. U.S. attorney Steve Berman, who represented the plaintiffs, maintained that Apple should pay an estimated $840 million, which is triple the amount the company gained from the price fixing collusion between Apple and a number of e-book publishers.
The court battle between Apple and the Department of Justice (DOJ) was made public in 2012 when the government body investigated the iPad maker for violating U.S. antitrust laws. In July of 2013, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote found Apple guilty of colluding with publishers to mark up the price of e-books, which adversely affected some sellers, like Amazon, who wanted to sell the books at a much lower cost to consumers.
In the ruling, the judge called Apple the ringmaster of the conspiracy to raise the price of e-books. “Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did,” wrote Cote in the decision.
The terms of the settlement have not yet been made public. However, Apple is appealing the July 2013 ruling and the eventual settlement payment will depend on the outcome of the appeal.
As part of the ruling’s provisions, Apple was assigned a monitor to ensure the company was complying with antitrust regulations. Although resistant to the investigation at first, Apple and the monitoring team lead by Michael Bromwich has improved and we haven’t heard much from the outspoken lawyer since April.
[Via: Bloomberg Businessweek]