Apple Settles Ebook Price Fixing Suit With Department of Justice
Posted on June 17, 2014
Well, this is a surprise. Someone at Apple deduced that its appeal of the ruling against it in the ebook price fixing case is a lost cause. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has agreed with the Justice Department to settle the case. Apple has repeatedly vowed to appeal the ruling and spare no expense to fight the case, but clearer heads have prevailed.
Apple executives have been absolutely miserable since Judge Denise Cote appointed a very expensive monitor named Michael Bromwich to oversee Apple's day to day operations to ensure it does not violate any antitrust laws. Apple tried its best to get rid of the monitor, and has objected to the monitor's exorbitant fees ($138,432 for his first two weeks of work), all to no avail. They're stuck with paying this guy tons of money to poke his nose in their business all the time.
The WSJ reports that an attorney who represents consumers and some U.S. states wrote a letter to Judge Cotes saying Apple and the plaintiffs have agreed to settle. The terms are secret and are under seal. The deal still has to be approved by the court. The settlement is contingent upon Apple losing its appeal of the underlying case, which is quite likely . The Department of Justice and states' attorneys general want Apple to pay a whopping $840 million in damages for colluding with the major book publishers to overcharge customers for ebooks.
Apple has refused to comment about the settlement, but it looks like the case is going to end soon with Apple writing a giant check. We feel certain that the only way Apple will write the check is if the court agrees to remove the external monitor. They really want him kicked off the Apple campus at Cupertino as soon as possible.