Apple settles on damages in digital book case

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm •  Published: June 17, 2014
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Apple has reached a settlement on the damages owed to consumers for orchestrating a scheme to drive up the prices of digital books.

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed in a document filed late Monday. More details will emerge in a filing due by July 16 in a New York federal court.

Lawyers representing consumers across the country had been seeking up to $840 million in damages. A trial on the damages claims had been scheduled to begin Aug. 25 in New York.

In another trial last year, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that the iPad and iPhone maker colluded with several major publishers to boost electronic book prices from April 2010 to May 2012.

Apple Inc. has appealed Cote's decision. The Cupertino, California, company has steadfastly contended that its deals with several major publishers helped foster competition by giving consumers more choices in an electronic book market that had been dominated by Amazon.com Inc.

If Apple prevails on the appeal, the settlement on the damages becomes moot.

Steven Berman, a Seattle lawyer representing the shoppers in the suit, declined to comment on the settlement Tuesday because of a court order.

Apple also declined to comment.

Five major publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin Group — were found to be involved in the price-fixing conspiracy. Those publishers previously agreed to pay a total of about $166 million to cover their damages.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed its antitrust case against Apple and the publishers in 2012 after an investigation concluded that Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, came up with a new pricing formula designed to counter Amazon's aggressive discounting on digital books.

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