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Apple settles ebook price fixing case, avoiding trial

By Kyle Johnson,

Apple has finally reached a settlement in the case where the company was accused of conspiring with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks.

While the terms of the settlement have not yet been made public, attorney Steve Berman notified U.S. District Judge Denise Cote that the case will not need to go to trial, reports The Guardian.

Berman represents some states and American consumers who were seeking up to $840 million over the belief that consumers who purchased ebooks through Apple overpaid by $280 million.

Apple and five publishers, who have already settled with the Justice Department, were reportedly overcharging for ebooks between 2009 and 2012. They agreed to set up an "agency model" that allowed Apple to take a 30 percent cut after publishers set their price.

The publishers, Penguin Group, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and MacMillan, previously agreed to settle to the tune of $165 million.

Judge Cote ruled on the Justice Departments' case against Apple back in August 2013 that Apple and publishers colluded. They charged $12.99 on ebooks, while Amazon was only charging $9.99.

"The plaintiffs have shown that the publisher defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise ebook prices," Cote said in her 2013 ruling. "Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy."

Apple is appealing that ruling, which will ultimately impact whether the tech giant must pay the current settlement.

 

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