Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been fined in a class-action lawsuit after being found to have conspired to fix eBook prices; reports Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. The settlement agreed between Apple, and the court prevents any further trial of the case in the 33 states where consumers were affected.
Apple had been accused of colluding with five top publishers in 2009-2010 in setting up prices in an effort of trying to break into Amazon’s dominance of the market. At the time, a judge issued an injunction that barred Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) from similar practices in the future consequently ordering the company to work closely with the court’s appointed monitor to guarantee future compliance.
“Under the deal Apple will have to pay $450 million to as many as 23 million consumers about $50 million of that is for lawyers’ fees. However, if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s appeal of its guilty verdict is successful the payment could be reduced to nothing, “said Mrs. Chang.
The agreement is still contingent to the upholding of a 2013 ruling where Apple was deemed to have violated antitrust laws with five publishers with a view of increasing eBook prices. Apple is in the process of appealing the verdict, which will determine if the current agreement will stick.
Apple hopes to pay a reduced settlement package in an instance where the earlier federal court ruling is overturned. Reports already indicate that in case the earlier ruling is overturned Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may only pay $50 million to consumers and another $20 million to lawyers. It looks unlikely that Apple will win the appeals.
The $450 million settlement may in a way be seen as a slap on the wrist for Apple as plaintiffs were reportedly pushing for a settlement of $840 million had the case gone to full trial. New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman has already stated that the agreement shows that even the biggest and most powerful companies are obliged to play by the rules.
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