Apple will be on the hook for $450 million after losing its appeal in the e-book price-fixing case, Bloomberg reports. The United States Supreme Court released the decision after Apple appealed the prior ruling. The high-profile case dates back to a 2012 lawsuit from the United States, which Apple appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, but the justices declined to hear the case which leaves the prior ruling intact.
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The justices turned away an appeal by Apple, leaving intact a federal appeals court ruling favoring the U.S. Justice Department and more than 30 states that sued.
The rebuff means Apple must comply with a settlement it reached with the states in 2014. The accord calls for Apple to pay $400 million to e-book consumers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in legal fees.
Last June we learned that a federal court would uphold the ruling that Apple must pay the $450 million settlement in the case brought against it by the United States over price-fixing accusations regarding publishers and Apple’s iBooks store.
With the Supreme Court of the United States rejecting Apple’s appeal, that ruling stays in place. Apple has previously described the ruling as a ‘radical departure’ from modern antitrust law although it did send out iTunes credits for some customers affected.
Back in early 2014, Apple first formally appealed the e-books price-fixing decision and challenged the court-appointed monitor that was overseeing Apple’s ongoing iBooks activity. The Department of Justice has since removed the monitor after finding Apple’s activity was satisfactory.
Apple initially called the antitrust lawsuit ‘fundamentally flawed’ four years ago. The case comes down to Apple’s agreements with publishers to use an agency model over pricing e-books on the iBooks store, which wouldn’t allow digital books to be sold at higher prices on competing stores.
Evidence surfaced during the trials includes Steve Jobs emails, Eddy Cue interviews, and more. Note that it was Apple’s decision to take the case to trial back in 2012 rather than avoiding the lengthy, public process with a settlement.
Update: Amazon has issued the following statement regarding today’s development:
We are ready to distribute the court-mandated settlement funds to Kindle customers as soon as we’re instructed to move forward.