Apple prepared to pay $450 million for e-book price fixing case

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One year after being found guilty of e-book price fixing, Apple has reached a conditional settlement with the U.S. State to pay $450 million for its role in the price fixing conspiracy that involved five major publishers.

Apple’s settlement could bring $400 million back to consumers’ wallets, reports Reuters, but the court documents filed on Wednesday reveal that the company isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet, with hopes that its appeal will shrink that fee down to just $70 million.

A federal court first accused Apple of conspiring with publishers to increase e-book pricing on iTunes in 2012. The court found Apple did collude with publishers, and even though Apple’s appealed the verdict, a make-good iTunes credit was sent out to customers.

The $450 e-book settlement fee is conditioned on the outcome of that pending appeal at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. If the court rules to reverse Apple’s liability in the case, that payment could drop down to $70 million, with a meager $50 million going back to customers.

The five publishers in the case – Hachette, Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster – have already paid out $166 million. It was originally reported that Apple could face an $840 million fee, but the appeals judge could also just eliminate the payments altogether.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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