Feeds

US judge 'troubled' by Apple's $450m bid to end ebook price-fixing row

Beak questions whether settlement is fair to customers

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

US federal judge Denise Cote is not particularly chuffed with Apple and its proposed $450m settlement in an ebook price-fixing lawsuit – because the odds are stacked against customers if the appeals process goes Cupertino's way.

Apple and 33 American states and territories came to the deal on how much the company should pay after Cote found it liable for antitrust violations in a separate trial. The parties were due to have another trial on the amount of damages before they agreed on the settlement.

The deal gives ebook readers a pot of $400m, while legal beaks will get as much as $50m on top of that. But the settlement only goes ahead if the appeals court declines Apple’s arguments.

Judge Cote said yesterday that she found it “most troubling” that the settlement included a clause that would require Apple to part with a mere $70m if the appeals court sent the case back to her for further proceedings or a new trial.

She wondered if it was fair for customers if the appeals court only returned the case to her because of a minor issue. She also questioned the lack of requirement for Apple to pay interest while the appeals go ahead, Reuters reports.

Cote found Apple liable for conspiring with the five major publishers to fix the price of ebooks in July last year, after cases brought by the US Department of Justice and the state attorneys-general. Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan all settled at various points in the suits and have paid up, but Apple is still fighting on in the appeals court.

The damages trial was originally expected to end up with as much as $840m in the pockets of plaintiffs, if their arguments succeeded and Judge Cote went for triple damages.

Steve Berman, a lawyer for consumers, told Judge Cote that they reckoned that the scenario where customers only got $70m was unlikely, but he said that the parties would consider her concerns. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.