Apple to Pay $450 Million to Settle E-Book Price Fixing Case

ibooks-iconAccording to court records filed on Wednesday, July 16, Apple will pay $450 million as part of an out-of-court settlement with class action lawyers and state district attorneys over e-book price fixing, reports Reuters.

Apple first reached a settlement agreement with the 33 U.S. states and territories involved in the lawsuit in June, successfully avoiding a lengthy and expensive damages trial. Settlement details were sealed at that time, however, pending court approval. $400 million of the $450 million is earmarked for consumers.

The settlement is contingent on a pending appeals case Apple filed in February with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. In the filing, Apple asked the court to overturn the original ruling that found the company guilty of conspiring to fix e-book prices.

"We have obviously studied Judge Cote's July 2013 ruling in detail, and believe that the 2nd Circuit will agree with her conclusion that Apple did violate federal antitrust laws," said Steve W. Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and lead attorney representing the consumer class. "In any case of this magnitude, there are high degrees of uncertainty, and Apple's appeal of Judge Cote's well-reasoned ruling is an example of that uncertainty."

Though found guilty, Apple has maintained its innocence throughout the dispute, claiming that it "kick-started competition in a highly concentrated market, delivering higher output, lower price levels, and accelerated innovation." Should Apple's appeal be successful, sending the claim back to District Court, the company will pay out $50 million to settle consumer damages claims. If the appeals court reverses the initial decision entirely, Apple will pay no damages.

Along with $450 million in damages, Apple has also been subjected to several penalties levied by the U.S. Department of Justice, including an order to hire an external antitrust monitor. Publishers involved in the case, including Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin also settled for a total of $166 million, which has already been making its way to customers in the form of refunds.

Top Rated Comments

heyyoudvd Avatar
95 months ago
What a joke.

Apple tries to save the e-book industry from an abusive monopolist (Amazon) and instead of being thanked for improving the state of competition, the government slaps it down to protect the monopolist.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Roger Wade Avatar
95 months ago
What a shame ...

Yes, I agree with you 100%.

it's too bad that Apple has to resort to these measures when they've got billions in the bank.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
95 months ago
What a joke.

Apple tries to save the e-book industry from an abusive monopolist (Amazon) and instead of being thanked for improving the state of competition, the government slaps it down to protect the monopolist.
Hi Tim! :cool: didn't know you have a MacRumors account.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnnnw Avatar
95 months ago
What a joke.

Apple tries to save the e-book industry from an abusive monopolist (Amazon) and instead of being thanked for improving the state of competition, the government slaps it down to protect the monopolist.
Hahahahahahahahaha you are so brainwashed it's unbelievable

Hope you don't get an email signed "Tim Cook" telling you to jump off a bridge or something, you'd believe it was him.

Tip: it's fake

Apple can do no wrong in your eyes
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarpalMac Avatar
95 months ago
Though found guilty, Apple has maintained its innocence throughout the dispute
Yes, paying $450m as an out of court settlement screams "we are innocent" to me.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
95 months ago
I never understood that judgement. What exactly was the damage?

Legit question here, what is the difference between what Apple did and what Amazon does? Because I hear people say that Amazon gets away with worse than what Apple did.

is this the things about Apple and Publishers making prices "set" for ebooks?


This is an odd thing. it sounds like stopping the "price fix" means a company can sell books for a really low price (even at a loss) which is GOOD for the consumer.
BUT, that means smaller companies that cannot afford to sell that low or at a loss will LOOSE OUT. Which means less competition overall which isn't good for the consumer.

Like a double-edged (or triple-edged) sword.

Under the original wholesale model, companies like Amazon would pay a set amount for books from publishers and were then free to price ebooks however they wanted. Amazon often sold books at a loss or at very small profit margins to edge other sellers out of the market (and to encourage customer loyalty), which in turn forced publishers to continually cut the price on books. Publishers dislike the wholesale model because it encourages consumers to expect lower priced books, a burden that ultimately falls on them.

Under the agency model, set up by Apple, publishers set the price for books and retailers like Amazon were paid a set amount for every book sold (a 30/70 split, more or less). Because Amazon wasn't buying outright and setting its own prices, this ultimately led to higher e-book prices and more profit for publishers. Apple and six major publishers forced Amazon into an agency model over a wholesale model.

Another issue surrounding Apple's agreement with the major publishers included a "most favored nation" clause that prevented publishers from selling books at other retailers at a price lower than what was available in the iBookstore. Basically, publishers set book prices higher and no one could sell them lower than what was available in the iBookstore, and according to the DOJ, this resulted in artificially higher prices across the board for consumers. Definitely somewhat of a lose/lose situation -- either customers get higher prices or Amazon kills competition by taking a loss.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Pauses Plans to Add AirPlay 2 Support to iOS App [Update: Spotify Clarifies]

Friday August 6, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
See update at bottom of article Spotify this week confirmed that its plans to add AirPlay 2 support to its iOS app have been placed on indefinite hiatus. In an online discussion forum post, a Spotify representative said the streaming music service had been working on supporting AirPlay 2, but the company has paused the efforts "for now" due to "audio driver compatibility issues." The...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
Pixel Stand 23W 668x445

Google Pixel 6 Rumored to Support 23W Wireless Charging, Beating iPhone 12's MagSafe

Wednesday September 1, 2021 1:54 am PDT by
Google is rumored to be working on a new wireless charging stand that could deliver 23W of charging power to its upcoming Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones, according to a leaked inventory image published by Android Police. Image via Android Police. If true, that would beat the iPhone 12's maximum 15W wireless charging speed (or 12W on ‌iPhone 12 mini‌) using Apple's MagSafe charger, and...