Apple To Cough Up $450m eBook Price Fixing
The company may be forced to stump up US$450 million to consumers and US states after a class action brought against the tech giant in 2012, accused Apple of conspiring with five book publishers to price fix ebooks sold via iBookstore.
Cases were taken by the state of New York and 32 other states and territories. Apple customers may receive up to $400m in the settlement for consumer damages and civil penalties to compensate them for paying “unlawfully inflated E-book prices,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
The total settlement is believed to be worth up to $450m, says Reuters.
Apple has agreed to the settlement but must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, who must decide if the iPad maker violated antitrust laws, after an appeal to an earlier ruling.
“This settlement proves that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else,” said New York’s Attorney General.
“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.”
The settlement was first announced last month but the terms were not disclosed.
However, Apple still deny they did wrong by ebook buyers.
“We did nothing wrong and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it,” said Kristin Huguet, Apple spokeswoman, in a statement.
The publishers Apple are accused of collluding with HarperCollins Publishers, owned by News Corp, Penguin Group (USA), and Simon & Schuster owned by CBS.