Apple has agreed to an approximately $400 million settlement as part of the high-profile ebook pricing fixing federal court case that would cover consumer damages and civil penalties for the 33 states involved. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman made an announcement today detailing the settlement that was also discovered in documents filed with the courts.
Schneiderman noted the settlement will ultimately depend on the outcome of Apple’s still pending appeal of “the court’s July 2013 finding that Apple violated antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise E-book prices.”:
Consumers nationwide (including those represented by private counsel in a related class action) will receive $400 million if the Court’s ruling that Apple violated antitrust laws is ultimately affirmed. If the Court’s ruling is not affirmed, the settlement provides for a smaller recovery of $50 million if liability must be retried, or no recovery if Apple is determined not to have violated antitrust laws. New York consumers are expected to receive approximately 7 percent, or as much as $28 million, from any amount that Apple is ultimately required to pay. In the event that the Court’s decision is upheld on appeal, Apple will also make payments to the 33 states of $20 million to resolve the states’ claims for costs, fees, and civil penalties.
The payout would be in addition to the $166 million in settlements paid by five publishers— Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster— that were originally involved in the case. Earlier this year, despite Apple’s still pending appeal of the decision it violated anti-trust laws, the comapny started providing credits to iTunes customers for the settlements previously reached with the publishers during the case.
“This settlement proves that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “In a major victory, our settlement has the potential to result in Apple paying hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers to compensate them for paying unlawfully inflated E-book prices. We will continue to work with our colleagues in other states to ensure that all companies compete fairly with the knowledge that no one is above the law.”
While Apple has agreed to the settlement that has now been submitted to the federal court in New York, it will first have to be approved by the courts.