Apple Could Owe $500 Million After Being Found Guilty in E-Book Antitrust Case

iBooksAfter being found guilty in federal court of conspiring to artificially inflate e-book prices, legal experts are estimating that Apple could owe as much as $500 million in damages.

GigaOm has shared a chart provided to the federal judge in the case by the Texas attorney general. It shows how much in damages the five publishers have been found liable and how much they have paid in settlements. The remainder -- after damages have been trebled for willful violations -- works out to roughly $500 million.

The chart shows that the publishers have paid out over $166 million so far. Earlier this month, a lawyer from Hagens Berman — the class action firm in the case — told my colleague Jeff Roberts that Apple would likely face a liability payment of harm to consumers times three, minus the $166 million already paid out by publishers. On Wednesday, Law360 reported (paywall) the same thing, calculating that if Apple loses its appeal it would face about $490 million in damages. I annotated the chart above with those figures.

settlement
Apple has indicated that it will appeal the guilty ruling and it's likely that it will be many months or even years before the case is resolved.

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Top Rated Comments

A Hebrew Avatar
142 months ago
They deserve the fine.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
distemp Avatar
142 months ago
This sounds like 'rob the rich' since they have the money...

Nah. Apple was really trying to scam us all into paying higher prices. It wasn't an accident that ebook prices went from a generally standard $10 to whatever the hell the publishers wanted when the iPad came around.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dontazemebro Avatar
142 months ago
What, Apple over-inflating prices?

Can't be true.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmwade77 Avatar
142 months ago
What I don't get is why in the original case part of their defense didn't include pointing out the Amazon was illegally selling ebooks below cost as an anti-competitive move, and that their model put a stop to that, which is why prices went up.
Actually, it is not illegal to sell books below cost. It may or may not be a smart business move, but it's not illegal.

What is illegal however is selling something (in this case books) at a set price and telling the manufacturer (in this case the publishers) that they can't let anyone else sell it for a lower price. This is what Apple was doing and why they should definitely be considered guilty.

Many gas stations tried something similar about 10 years ago and were fined for it. Retailers have tried this before and didn't get away with it. Why should Apple be let off the hook?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pirg Avatar
142 months ago
No sweat, they'll use the 600 million Samsung owes them for stealing :p
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lazy Avatar
142 months ago
What I don't get is why in the original case part of their defense didn't include pointing out the Amazon was illegally selling ebooks below cost as an anti-competitive move, and that their model put a stop to that, which is why prices went up.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)