Apple agrees to conditional $450 million e-books antitrust accord

Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:21pm EDT
 
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By Nate Raymond and Alison Frankel

(Reuters) - Apple Inc has agreed to pay $450 million to resolve U.S. state and consumer claims the iPad manufacturer conspired with five major publishers to fix e-book prices, according to court records filed Wednesday.

The settlement, which would provide $400 million for consumers, is conditioned on the outcome of a pending appeal of a New York federal judge's ruling last year that Apple was liable for violating antitrust laws.

A ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversing the judge could, under the settlement, either reduce the amount Apple pays to $70 million, with $50 million for consumers, or eliminate payments altogether.

"While we cannot predict the outcome of the appeal with certainty, we are confident in the case we made against Apple at trial," Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said in a statement.

Apple in a statement denied that it had conspired to fix e-book prices and said it would continue pressing its case on appeal.

"We did nothing wrong and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said.

The settlement, which requires approval of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, had been announced in June. Terms were not disclosed at the time.

It came ahead of an Aug. 25 damages trial, in which attorneys general in 33 states and territories and lawyers for a class of consumers were expected to seek up to $840 million.   Continued...

 
The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino