Judge Approves Apple iBooks $450 Million Antitrust Settlement

Justice?Judge Denise Cote gave final approval to a settlement between Apple and class-action plaintiffs over antitrust claims regarding iBooks. Under the terms of the settlement, Apple will pay the class $400 million in damages for price fixing in the ebook market, while lawyers get $50 million.

The settlement allows Apple to continue appealing its antitrust conviction, and if Apple wins that appeal, it will pay $50 million to the class and $20 million to attorneys.

According to Reuters, Judge Cote called the settlement an "unusually structured settlement, especially for one arrived at on the eve of trial." She suggested she was willing to approve it mainly because she feels there is little chance Apple will win its appeal.

Apple reached a settlement with plaintiffs, which include states attorneys general, in June, just two months ahead of a damages trial for the case. Plaintiffs were rumored to be seeking twice what Apple settled for, and the trials process could have resulted in even higher damages.

In other words, the settlement locked in Apple's risk while still giving the company somewhat of a reprieve if it overturns its conviction as a price fixer. Fortunately, the attorneys who brought the case win no matter what, so grieve not for their fate.