Apple (AAPL) Settles E-Books Price Fixing Case: Report

Barnes & Noble

Apple (AAPL) has avoided a trial in which the tech giant faced as much as $840 million in claims by reaching an out of court settlement with consumers and some US states that accused it of price-fixing on e-books, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The case against Apple was set to go before a jury next month, but that will no longer be necessary. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, Steve Berman, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said both sides have reached an agreement in principle.

The exact terms of the settlement have not yet been revealed.

The U.S. government sued Apple and five American publishers in April 2012 — Apple is the only defendant in the case, as News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers Inc, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan and Penguin have already settled with the DOJ — arguing the iPhone maker together with the publishers engaged in a horizontal price-fixing scheme to set the prices of e-books it was selling, and thereby help set the market. The plaintiffs also argue Apple overcharged consumers on e-books to the tune of $280 million and that it should pay three times that amount in damages.

Apple says it has not broken any anti-trust laws.

AAPL is up 28 cents, or 0.30%, at $92.48 in pre-market trading Tuesday.

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