Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reached an agreement to settle the claims for consumer damages and civil penalties filed by more than 30 U.S. states and territories in connection with the participation of the tech giant with publishers in the conspiracy to fix the prices of e-books.
Settlement contingent on outcome of Apple’s appeal
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the settlement agreement today. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) agreed to pay $400 million to settle the e-book price fixing claims against it. The settlement is contingent with the outcome of the appeal of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) on the ruling of the court in July last year. United States District Judge Denise Cote ruled that the iPhone and iPad maker violated antitrust laws as it conspired with publishers to fix the prices of e-books before entering the market.
Under the settlement agreement, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will pay $400 million to consumers nationwide if the court of appeals upholds the ruling of Judge Cote that it violated antitrust laws. The company will also pay $20 million to the 33 states to resolve claims for costs, fees and civil penalties.
On the other hand, if the appeals court does not reaffirm the ruling and the case will be retried, the tech giant will pay a smaller recovery of $50 million. In the event that the court of appeals reverses the ruling and finds that Apple did not violate antitrust laws, it will not pay anything.
According to Attorney General Schneiderman, consumers in New York are expected to received approximately 7% or as much as $28 million, from any amount Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is required to pay ultimately.
In a statement, Attorney General Schneiderman said, “This settlement proves that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else. In a major victory, our settlement has the potential to result in Apple paying hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers to compensate them for paying unlawfully inflated E-book prices. We will continue to work with our colleagues in other states to ensure that all companies compete fairly with the knowledge that no one is above the law.”
E-book consumers already received compensation or rebates from the $166 million settlement from publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin in the antitrust lawsuit filed by the State Attorneys General and class plaintiffs regarding the price of e-books.
Apple continues to deny e-book price-fixing claims
Kristin Huguet, the spokesperson of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reiterated the position of the company that it did not conspire with publishers to fix the prices of e-books. She said, “We did nothing wrong, and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it.”