The state of Idaho has settled an e-book, price-fixing case with Apple, Inc. for $2 million. Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced the settlement on Wednesday.
Idaho joined 32 other states in the antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the six biggest E-book publishers in 2012… accusing the companies of conspiring to eliminate retail price competition as part of a scheme to drive up E-book prices.
Under terms of the agreement… the timing of payments to consumers depends upon Apple’s appeal in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. After a three-week trial last year, a judge ruled that Apple violated antitrust laws by conspiring with the publishers to artificially raise prices between 2010 and 2012. The five publishers previously settled with the states, and earlier this year sent approximately $800,000 worth of checks and credits to Idaho E-Book buyers.
“This is a significant resolution to a lawsuit that sought to bring fairness to Idaho consumers harmed by higher prices and restore competition in the marketplace,” Attorney General Wasden said. “I am pleased to know that Idaho E-Book buyers who took an unfair hit to their pocketbooks because of the illegal activity by Apple will be compensated.”
Idaho consumer purchasers represented about 0.50 percent of the E-Book purchases nationwide.
The five publishers involved in the litigation and settlement included Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers, LLC, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. In her decision, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, of the South District of New York, found that Apple played a central role in planning and executing a conspiracy to eliminate retail price competition, in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.