Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has finally got relief over the ebook price fixing case, as a federal judge in New York finally approved the company’s $450 million settlement for its conspiracy. Judge Denise Cote of the United States District Court in Manhattan has given a final approval for the settlement. Earlier in August, Cote has granted the preliminary approval for the same settlement.
Following the final approval, Apple has to refund $400 million to its users who purchased certain books between the year 2010 to 2012, and to pay the remaining $50 million as attorneys’ fees. As expected, the judge noted that the settlement is “fair and reasonable.”
The final twist will come when Apple wins its 2013’s appeal of a price-fixing scandal ruling, where the company will have to pay only $50 million to the consumers, while $20 million will go as attorneys’ fees. This appeal’s hearing is scheduled for December 2015 in the same court in Manhattan. However, lawyers who back the consumers in this ebook price-fixing conspiracy strongly believe that Apple will lose that appeal.
Earlier, The US District Judge has expressed her concern over a clause that stated that Apple is liable to pay only $70 million in case the appeal is reversed in the court and the case is sent back to the judge for further investigation.
Apple found guilty last year over the conspiracy of fixing prices (or inflating) for ebooks of five big publishers – HarperCollins, Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette and Simon & Schuster. These five publishers had settled their part of $166 million, as they were also found guilty and were charged over the price-fixing scandal. This $166 million will go to the consumers who bought certain ebooks between April 2010 and May 2012, which makes the total to $566 million, if Apple loses the appeal.
If you have bought ebooks from these publishers and if you want to know whether you are qualified for the settlement or not, then head over to this link (it was down when writing this article), but the sad part is, the period to make a claim ended in October 2014. If Apple loses the appeal, those users who claimed would get approximately $6.50 for every NY Times bestseller they bought, and if Apple wins, uses will get only around $1 for each ebooks.