Three years ago, Apple was found guilty of anticompetitive behavior centered around ebook pricing and price-fixing. The case was in limbo for years as Apple appealed and tried to fight the ruling, but earlier this year the Supreme Court declined to hear the company’s appeal, putting Apple on the hook for $450 million. Law firm Hagens Berman today issued a press release revealing that payouts will begin being sent to affected customers tomorrow, June 21st.
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According to the firm, $400 million will be handed out to customers who purchased books from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. Payments will either be sent direct to customer iTunes accounts or a check will be mailed, depending on how the customer responded to an earlier survey.
Customers will receive $6.93 for every ebook that was a New York Times bestseller and $1.57 for every other ebook. Qualifying ebooks must have been purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 and be from one of the following pubslihers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan (Holtzbrinck Publishers), Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster.
As for the other $40 million, Apple will pay $20 million to the states and $30 million in legal fees.
Apple was first hit with the antitrust lawsuit because of tis “agency model” of ebook pricing and accusations that it was working with publishers to artificially raise the prices of ebooks.
Apple initially called the lawsuit “fundamentally flawed.” It also explained that the ruling was a “radical departure” from modern antitrust law and that it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price-fixing. As you’d expect, Apple has been working to change the ruling for years. In early 2014, Apple appealed the e-books price-fixing decision and asked that the the court-appointed monitor that was overseeing its ongoing iBooks activity be removed. While that request was denied initially, the Department of Justice has since removed the monitor.
A variety of evidence was used in the case, including Steve Jobs emails, Eddy Cue interviews, and much more. Apple initially started sending out iTunes credits to some affected customers in 2014, even though its appeal was still pending.