On Friday, a judge gave final approval to Apple’s agreement to pay $450 million to resolve claims it harmed consumers by conspiring with five major publishers to raise the price of ebooks.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved the settlement, which calls for Apple to pay $400 million to up to 23 million consumers if it cannot appeal a ruling that found it is liable for antitrust violations, Reuters reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Denise Cote” author_title=”U.S. District Judge”]
(This is an) unusually structured settlement, especially for one arrived at on the eve of trial.
The $400 million is in addition to earlier settlements with five publishers, which provided $166 million to consumers who bought ebooks.
Apple agreed to the settlement in June of this year before the damages trial in which attorneys general from 33 states and terrorities and attorneys representing consumers were expected to seek $840 million.
The figure for the settlement may change if an appeals court overturns the 2013 verdict in which Apple was found guilty of conspiring with five publishers to fix ebook prices. The court will hear Apple’s challenge on December 15 but is unlikely to change the ruling.
If the court overturns the verdict and returns the case to Judge Cote, Apple will pay $50 million to harmed consumers and $20 million to attorneys, the New York Times reported.
The lawsuit seems to reflect exhaustion by Apple, the Justice Department, class-action attorneys and state attorneys general who are eager to reach a conclusion in a case that began in 2012. The lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in 2012 accused Apple of being a “ringleader” in a conspiracy to raise the average price of ebooks and break away from the $9.99 price Amazon made standard for new ebook releases.
Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and the Hachette Book Group settled the same day the case was filed. Penguin and Macmillian settled months later, the Boston Globe reported.