Apple to pay millions for its role in scheme to inflate E-book prices
SALT LAKE CITY March 7, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes today announced that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied Apple Inc.’s request for the Court to review a lower court decision. The result clears the way for the distribution of $400 million to U.S. consumers who paid artificially-inflated prices for e-books. The lower court held Apple liable for conspiring with five major publishers to raise the prices of electronic books.
“While these are well-respected companies that do a lot of good for our communities, even good companies make mistakes,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “When companies engage in conduct that crosses the line, it is our job to make sure they are held accountable and to ensure that consumers are compensated for their losses. The anti-trust team from our office deserves to be acknowledged for their persistent efforts throughout this case.”
Utah joined a group of 33 states led by Texas and Connecticut in investigating and prosecuting the antitrust case against Apple and its co-conspirators. In July 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Apple conspired to raise prices with: Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc.
The case was tried jointly, between the 33-state coalition and the U.S. Department of Justice. The district court’s ruling was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in June 2015. With the Supreme Court declining to review that decision, Apple has no further opportunity to contest its liability.
All five of the publishers settled prior to trial, and paid a total of approximately $166 million in nationwide consumer compensation. The states’ settlement with Apple was contingent on the outcome of Apple’s appeal of the ruling, meaning Apple must now pay the maximum contemplated amounts. In addition to the $400 million to be distributed to consumers – including those represented by private counsel in a related class action – Apple will pay $20 million to the states in reimbursement for fees and costs and to resolve claims for civil penalties.
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