Apple Agrees To Conditionally Settle E-Book Price Fixing Lawsuit For $400 Million

Apple may have to pay consumers up to $400 million as part of a settlement agreement it reached with New York Attorney Eric T. Schneiderman over the company's alleged involvement in a price fixing conspiracy. A federal court in New York found that the conspiracy led to artificially inflated prices for e-books sold to consumers in New York and throughout the country.

"This settlement proves that even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world must play by the same rules as everyone else," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "In a major victory, our settlement has the potential to result in Apple paying hundreds of millions of dollars to consumers to compensate them for paying unlawfully inflated E-book prices. We will continue to work with our colleagues in other states to ensure that all companies compete fairly with the knowledge that no one is above the law."

Apple Store

Schneiderman might be getting a little ahead of himself. Not only does the settlement agreement have to be approved by the court, it's also contingent on what happens in Apple's appeal of the court's July 2013 finding that Apple violated antitrust laws by conspiring with five publishers to drive up e-book prices. Depending on the outcome, Apple could pay as little as $50 million as part of an agreed upon recovery, or nothing at all if it's determined that Apple didn't violate antitrust laws.

E-book publishers have already received compensation from $166 million in settlement funds paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy.. That figure won't affect the amount due to consumers as part of the settlement.