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

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
Alibaba swings a large one with STONKING IPO legal bills
Chinese e-commerce beast searches for $21bn from investors
EMC has nothing to say on VMware sale plan
Rumour and counter-rumour swirl around Wall Street
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.