Apple Settles State and Consumer Class Action E-Book Price Fixing Lawsuit

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ibooks-iconAccording to a letter filed in the Southern District Court of New York, Apple has reached an out-of-court settlement with both class action lawyers and state district attorneys over e-book price-fixing, reports Bloomberg.

Settlement details remain sealed and must be approved by the court. If approved, this agreement will end litigation ahead of a potentially costly damages trial that was slated to begin July 14. Apple faced more than $800 million in damages in this class-action antitrust lawsuit involving both consumers and states.

Steve Berman, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said by phone that all the U.S. attorneys general and consumers settled the case. Berman said he filed a memorandum of understanding with the court under seal, which prevents him from describing the agreement.

In an earlier decision, Apple was found guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. As part of its preparations for launching the iBookstore alongside the iPad in 2010, Apple sought to weaken Amazon's hold on the industry and change the business model that governed the sale of e-books, an effort that resulted in higher prices for consumers. Apple filed an appeal in that case earlier this year.

Top Rated Comments

John.B Avatar
86 months ago
All while Amazon wields complete monopoly power in the bookseller world. Unbelievable....
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redscull Avatar
86 months ago
But book prices have not changed. Amazon still sells books as a loss lead at the author/publisher's expense, and iBooks are still MSRP sticker priced. This whole thing accomplished nothing but putting money in lawyer's pockets.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rocketman Avatar
86 months ago

Apple sought to weaken Amazon's hold on the industry and change the business model that governed the sale of e-books, an effort that resulted in higher prices for consumers. Apple filed an appeal in that case earlier this year.

As a publisher who sets a firm wholesale price on the books I publish I welcomed the agency model Apple proposed. It "raised prices to consumers" by protecting "copyright owners' rights to set wholesale prices to above cost".

Amazon wanted to sell loss leader products and transfer the cost reductions to copyright owners and not compensate them for their work since under the Amazon model the owner gets a percentage of actual sale price, even if it is $1 or $0.

That's a ripoff.

The fact they exploited a wrinkle in regulator attitudes (not written down) and thus gave civil plaintiffs a foothold based on the arbitrary and monologue rulings of regulators, means this country, in fact, does not operate under the rule of law.

It's also an example of the majority squashing the minority.

Rocketman

cite (pdf):
http://www.v-serv.com/usr/ATFE-03-16-09.pdf
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fredaroony Avatar
86 months ago

Ok I give up. Sorry I wasted your time. It's my poor English that leads me to raw and rough simplifications. Bye.

Apple clearly was in the wrong in this case and the fact that posters in here are arguing keeping prices higher for the consumers isn't a negative is inane.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FakeWozniak Avatar
86 months ago

Glad this is out of the way, it was a slam dunk, they clearly did conspire to keep prices high, the evidence is clear for everyone to see except those who dont want to.

Amazon kept (and keeps) book prices low, people talk about a "monopoly" but it patently isn't, there are numerous places to buy books from, online or in print. The only monopoly (or to be accurate oligopoly) was the conspiracies of a handful of major publishers and Apple to keep prices high.

The only thing the "conspirators" did was enact an agency model which keeps vendors like Amazon from instituting aggressive "loss leaders". These below-cost prices which would eventually turn into predatory contract negotiations like we have now with Hatchette and Time Warner.

And it's not over for either Apple or Amazon.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sofila Avatar
86 months ago
I'm not feeling shortsighted. I look beyond the names involved, I see a company found guilty for fixing ebook prices (raising prices for final consumers). I see the same company reaching out of court settlements. And I see some guys trying to explain me that an higher price was better in the end. I live on another planet, different from yours.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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