E-book customers receive payouts for Apple price fixing

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Affected customers will get their share of Apple's $450 million payout.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Bringing an end to Apple’s long-running iBooks price fixing scandal, affected customers will today receive their settlement payment for books bought between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.

Settlements work out at $1.57 for the majority of e-books, increasing to $6.93 for New York Times bestsellers. Publishers involved in the suit include the Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster — all of whom were found guilty of colluding with Apple to fix e-book prices.

Judge suggests Amazon, not Apple, is e-book monopolist

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Apple's eBook appeal is just getting started. Photo: Apple
Apple's eBook appeal is just getting started. Photo: Apple

Apple was found guilty last year of colluding with publishers to raise ebook prices, but now that the antitrust case is being heard by the Second U.S. Court of Appeals, two out of the three appellate judges are starting to see things Apple’s way.

The appeals case kicked off this morning with Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart attempting to compare Apple to a driver taking a narcotics dealer to a drug pick up. The analogy was supposed to make the point that if Apple knew publishers were conspiring to fix ebook prices, it was just as guilty as them for facilitating the conspiracy. However, Fortune reports that Judge Denis Jacobs laughed off the analogy, pointing out that drug trafficking is one of the few “industries in which the law does not look with favor or new entrants.”

The comment drew a chorus of laughs in the courtroom, but Judge Jacob’s concerns went even further, as the the judge questioned whether the government should have even brought the case to court.

Judge in e-book antitrust case is unhappy Apple may pay just $70m

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U.S. District Judge Denise Cote says that it is “most troubling” that Apple could potentially be made to pay just $70 million in its antitrust case related to e-book price fixing.

Cote was speaking during a teleconference on Thursday regarding the long-running case claiming that Apple conspired with five publishers to fix e-book prices.

In the original ruling made by Judge Cote in April 2012, Apple was expected to pay $674 million after the plaintiffs reached settlements with the individual publishers.