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Apple settles multi-million dollar US ebooks case out of court

No comment from Apple as book reportedly shuts on arguments
Tue Jun 17 2014, 13:55

APPLE APPARENTLY HAS SETTLED its US court case over ebook price-fixing out of court but has declined to comment on the case, its result or any further appeals.

Reports say that the case might have seen Apple commit to an $840m payout, but Apple would not comment on this and directed The INQUIRER to a 'no comment' response at Reuters.

The case was brought against Apple, and five publishers in 2012. Then the US Department of Justice accused them of colluding to keep ebook prices artificially high.

Apple was subject of additional claims, and was viewed as the ringleader in the case. Reuters reports that Manhattan US District Court Judge Denise Cote had given the parties around a month to put forward a settlement for approval.

When Apple was found responsible last July it immediately set about and appeal. Judge Cote's decision is the result of that appeal.

In July Judge Cote was low on sympathy and high on scorn for Apple.

"Understanding that no one publisher could risk acting alone in an attempt to take pricing power away from Amazon, Apple created a mechanism and environment that enabled them to act together in a matter of weeks to eliminate all retail price competition for their ebooks," she wrote in her ruling.

"The evidence is overwhelming that Apple knew of the unlawful aims of the conspiracy and joined that conspiracy with the specific intent to help it succeed. Apple seized the moment and brilliantly played its hand.... Without Apple's orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did in the spring of 2010."

Apple's line then was that it has done nothing wrong. "Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations," it said.

Apple has never been particularly keen on outside involvement in books. µ


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