Apple Settles Ebook Pricing Antitrust Case, Avoids Going to $840 Million Trial

Bloomberg reports tonight Apple has reached a settlement in its ebooks price-fixing case, avoiding a July trial which would have saw up to $840 million in claims pit against the company:

Apple Inc. reached a settlement with U.S. states and consumers seeking damages over the company’s fixing of electronic book prices, avoiding a trial in which it faced as much as $840 million in claims.

According to the letter written by the plaintiff’s attorney Steve Berman to federal judge Denise Cote (via Re/code):

“The parties write to inform the Court that the Class Plaintiffs, State Plaintiffs, and Apple have executed a binding agreement in principle to resolve the Class litigation, and the damages phase of the States’ litigation,”

Apple was among six publishers sued by the U.S. government back in spring of 2012, alleging the companies conspired to sell ebooks at a higher price, with publishers setting the price and Apple taking its 30 percent cut.

Last summer, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled Apple was guilty in its role of conspiring to fix ebook prices, which the company appealed.

Apple’s original stance was its entry into the ebook business with its iBookstore helped the overall market more than hurt it, and questioned Amazon’s role in the civil lawsuit.

Looks like Apple realized it would be cheaper to settle, instead of going to trial. I wonder what they would have saved if they settled back in the day like the other publishers. But for Apple, it was never about the cost of the trial, rather the principle of defending what they thought was right it appears.

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