Antitrust Law

Apple OKs high-low settlement of as little as zero and as much as $400M in e-book price-fixing case

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Faced with ongoing federal antitrust litigation contending that Apple Inc. conspired with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, the company insists that it did nothing wrong.

However, Apple has nonetheless agreed to a high-low settlement of the case, contingent on what happens in a pending federal appeal, according to PC World and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

If Apple prevails in its arguments to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the company will owe nothing. If the appeals court grants a retrial, the company will pay $50 million to settle claims involving consumers in at least 33 states. And if the 2nd Circuit upholds last summer’s bench verdict by a federal judge in Manhattan that Apple colluded with publishers, the company will pay $400 million, the articles explain.

The settlement comes before a scheduled Aug. 25 trial to determine the amount of damages in the case, Reuters reports.

The plaintiffs have argued that price-fixing cost e-book customers $280 million and are seeking treble damages, for a total of $840 million.

Related coverage: “2nd Circuit puts court-appointed monitor back to work in Apple e-book case but limits his duties”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req.): “U.S. Judge Rules Apple Colluded on E-Books”

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