Apple settles civil class-action e-book case but it's far from over

Apple has settled its civil class-action e-book case with 30 states attorneys general and consumer groups, avoiding a trial that was set for July, according to Bloomberg.

But whether Apple pays out a dime — and the company has yet to pay out anything related to the case — depends on the outcome of the iPhone maker’s challenge of a federal court decision last year saying that it had violated antitrust laws.

In a letter to the court posted by AppleInsider, Steve Berman, the attorney for plaintiffs, wrote that any payment by Apple is dependent on the outcome of Apple’s appeal. The settlement’s dollar amount remains under seal.

In that case, brought by the Department of Justice, a judge found that Apple had violated antitrust law when it entered the e-book market by conspiring with five publishers to set prices. Apple has denied any wrong-doing and has appealed that decision. Separately, the company lost its fight to block a court-appointed monitor the judge assigned, as I wrote about in a post.

The Department of Justice case did not involve monetary remedies but it paved the way for the civil case. Plaintiffs sought $280 million that could have tripled to more than $800 million if Apple’s antitrust violation was determined to be willful, Fortune writes.

But some money has gone back to consumers, just not from Apple.

The publishers also settled with the states attorneys general and consumer groups, paying out about $160 million. And Amazon issued customers credit because when publishers raised their e-book prices with Apple, they raised them with Amazon as well, as I wrote about in a post.

Above: An Apple Store in New York. (DON EMMERTDON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (158 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.