The lawsuit alleges that Apple entered into collusion with e-book publishers in a price-fixing scam in 2009 and 2010. The method behind the madness was to combat internet retailer Amazon and its stranglehold over the e-book marketplace, and with Amazon releasing their iPad tablet in the same time period, Apple sought to provide support for the possibility of its tablet entering into direct competition with Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers.
Apple allegedly entered into an agreement with Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Group, Hachette Book Group, and HarperCollins to offer e-book titles for between $12.99 and $14.99, a stark contrast to the $9.99 price point at which Amazon had been selling the same titles. Publishers allegedly jumped at the chance to increase their revenue Despite the peculiar nature of Apple’s ongoing e-book lawsuit, a U.S. district judge allowed Apple yesterday to pay $450 million over claims that it had colluded with several publishers to increase the prices of electronic books.
While the original court case brought by the alleged price-fixing found Apple guilty of collusion, the company had since entered into an appeal – but not before having to pay out on its settlement amount. Some 23 million customers will be getting refunds totaling $400 million, with an additional $50 million going to court costs and legal fees. The original arrangement had Apple settling the lawsuit in June after a federal and local legal pursuit through 33 states and territories that was hoping to extract as much as $840 million from the company for its collusion with publishing houses.
Now, with the current agreement in place, Apple has been given to contest the previous ruling. The company’s case will be heard in federal appeals court on December 15; an overturning of the original decision could see Apple paying a much reduced amount in restitution to its customers as a result. Industry experts say that there’s no indication as to which way the court of appeals will rule on the matter.