During a hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called an “unusual” accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company’s appeal of a ruling finding it liable for antitrust violations is unsuccessful.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote previously expressed concern over the proposed settlement citing a clause in the agreement that she called “most troubling”, but today called the settlement agreement “within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable.”
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The settlement follows Apple’s loss in 2013 against the United States Department of Justice in a case claiming Apple conspired with ebook publishers to raise the price of content for consumers. As it announced it would do shortly after the ruling, Apple formally filed for an appeal in the case in February 2014.
Under the settlement, Apple will not be forced to pay any fees in the event that it wins its appeal. If Apple loses its appeal, the company will pay out $450 million with $400 million going out to consumers and $50 million covering legal costs. As mentioned earlier, a third possibility previously caused the judge in the case to question the settlement: Apple will pay $70 million with $50 million intended for the consumer compensation fund if the first verdict in the case is overturned but the court sends the case back.
Earlier this year, Apple began issuing iTunes credits for customers affected by the ebooks price situation despite its appeal.