Feeds

Apple ebook price-fix row: Stiffed readers inch closer to $450m windfall

Judge signs off on payout deal – but it's not over yet

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

An ebooks price-fixing lawsuit against Apple in the US is close to wrapping up – with the iPhone maker coughing up nearly half a billion dollars as a result, potentially.

A US Judge on Friday granted preliminary approval to the $450m payment deal, in which Apple will settle with states' attorneys general over allegations of conspiring with publishers to artificially inflate the price for digital books.

District Court Judge Denise Cote of Southern New York said that, pending an appeal by Apple of the original verdict, the deal to settle the case will move forward to a final hearing in November. People who bought ebooks from Apple will have until October 31 to opt out or object to the class-action settlement.

Under the terms of the deal, Apple will pay $400m to cover refunds for readers who purchased titles from its iBooks online store. Additionally, the Cupertino giant will slip $50m into the pockets of lawyers in the case.

"The Court finds that the Settlement Agreement is the result of extensive, arm’s length negotiations by counsel well-versed in antitrust litigation and the particulars of this case," Cote said of the agreement.

"The assistance of a well-known mediator, Antonio Piazza, reinforces the conclusion that the Settlement Agreement is non-collusive."

Apple was found by a judge to be liable for violating antitrust laws in its dealings with publishers for its ebook shop. The ruling found that the iGiant allowed publishers to set the retail prices for their titles and pay Apple a 30 per cent cut, which ultimately unfairly inflated the price of books and gouged consumers.

This model is in contrast to Amazon's approach which is to buy books from publishers and then set its own retail prices – sometimes selling titles at a loss, which is good news for book buyers and bad news for rival Apple.

The attorneys general and Apple agreed to the deal in June, and details on the settlement were made public late last month.

One hurdle, however, remains for the settlement deal. Apple has appealed the original 2013 verdict that it broke antitrust laws and, pending the decision by the court to reduce or throw out penalties against the company, the settlement could be changed or dismissed altogether. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.