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Apple to pay $400 million to settle e-books suit

The deal is contingent on the iPhone maker's appeal of last year's antitrust case. If Apple wins the appeal they will have to pay no more than $50 million.
By Ananth Baliga   |   July 16, 2014 at 3:50 PM   |   Comments

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CUPERTINO, Calif., July 16 (UPI) -- Apple reached a $400 million settlement with 33 states for conspiring to fix e-book prices with publishers in order to dampen a sales program launched by Amazon.

Apple has continued to deny that it was part of any wrongdoing and that it will continue to fight the suit. The announcement was made by the New York attorney general's office that had announced last month that Apple and the other parties had reached a settlement in principle.

"We did nothing wrong and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said.

"This settlement proves that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a news release.

The settlement comes as a judge sided with 33 states and territories last year that argued Apple violated anti-trust laws by overpricing e-books. The judge said that Apple was part of "a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise e-book prices." The court ordered Apple to modify its contracts with publishers to prevent overpricing and to hire a third-party agency to monitor its compliance of antitrust laws.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs had earlier asked for $840 million, saying that Apple had overcharged customers by $280 million and they should have to pay three times that amount.

The publishers that were involved are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster Inc. They have already settled for $166 million in a separate suit.

Follow @antbaliga and @UPI on Twitter.
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