States want $840M from Apple for Ebook Price Fixing

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The states that banded together to sue Apple over ebook price fixing allegations are saying they want the iPhone and iPad maker to pay them US$840 million in damages. The states claim Apple owes them triple the $280 million they were originally seeking because U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple coordinated a conspiracy with publishers to artificially raise the price of ebooks.

States asking for $840 million from Apple in ebook price fixing caseStates asking for $840 million from Apple in ebook price fixing case

The damages amount the states are asking for is based on 0.5 percent of the $158.8 billion in cash Apple had at the end of 2013, according to Bloomberg. The states involved in the lawsuit have claimed that Apple's actions caused economic harm and are seeking damages from the company.

The Federal case for antitrust violations was brought against Apple by the Department of Justice. The DOJ argued Apple colluded with book publishers to force prices up, while Apple said it was negotiating independent deals with the companies and trying to break Amazon's monopoly on the market.

Judge Cote ultimately ruled Apple had orchestrated a price fixing conspiracy, and placed a monitor in the company to watch over future contract negotiations. Apple felt the monitor was unnecessary and was overstepping his bounds, and managed to win a temporary stay blocking him from performing the duties Judge Cote assigned him. A hearing on whether or not the monitor should be allowed to resume his tasks is scheduled for February 4.

Apple is appealing Judge Cote's ruling and still maintains it did nothing wrong. The states are hoping to get Judge Cote to agree to their damages request before that happens.

Assuming Apple wins on appeal, the court appoint monitor will be out, regardless of the status of the injunction keeping him from working right now. It'll also kill any damages Apple owes, although the DOJ and states could file appeals in hopes of changing that.

Apple hasn't commented on the damage request from the states, which isn't any surprise. Instead, the company will offer up its take on the request to the court.



The big winner is Amazon because it gets to carry on with business as usual, selling books below cost and chipping away at its competition.

Within 10 years the DOJ will be suing Amazon for being an abusive monopoly and those of us here will be able to sit back and say I Told You So.


How can the states ask for damages? It was not them but consumers who would have been hurt. So shouldn’t damages be paid to people who bought “over priced” books? 

Do the states think this over-pricing of books hurt their economy and therefore tax revenues, therefore due to indirection they should get damages? Well, hey, the hurt to the economy hurt my company too which would have made more money and therefore would have given me a bigger raise, therefore I deserve triple damages too!

I can never read any news about this e-book pricing issue without getting very mad.


geoduck:  Within 10 years the DOJ will be suing Amazon for being an abusive monopoly.

By then, there may only be a few big publishing houses remaining. And I would not be surprised if Amazon, or Bezos, owned them.



Time for Apple to start buying up congressmen. We all know they are for sale.

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