Apple will have to pay millions over ebook price-fixing after supreme court declines to hear case

Lynsey Barber
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The supreme court turned down Apple's ebook case (Source: Getty)

Apple will have to pay out $450m in a settlement over ebook price-fixing after losing a battle in the US courts.

The supreme court declined to hear Apple's challenge to a previous ruling which found that the tech giant conspired with publishers to increase the price of ebooks. A New York court ruled in June last year that it had broken antitrust laws by conspiring to raise prices with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon and Schuster and Macmillan.

"Apple’s liability for knowingly conspiring with book publishers to raise the prices of e-books is settled once and for all," said Bill Baer, head of the US justice department's antitrust division.

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Apple had argued that its entry into the market in 2010 and working with publishers to set prices increased competition in the market, which is dominated by Amazon.

“Following Apple’s entry, output increased, overall prices decreased and a major new retailer began to compete in a market formerly dominated by a single firm,” Apple said in its submission to the supreme court. “If a new firm’s entry disrupts a monopoly and creates long-term competition, that is to be lauded, whether the previous prices were artificially high or artificially low.”

The supreme court did not agree, turning down the appeal. Now Apple will have to pay $400m to ebook customers with a further $50m going to the states and legal fees.

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