Apple facing $840m fine for ebook pricing

Oliver Smith
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APPLE faces a fine of up to $840m (£511m) from US state and consumer antitrust claims after last summer’s lawsuit, in which the tech giant was found to be guilty of conspiring with publishing companies to increase the price of ebooks.

The class action lawsuit, comprised of customers from 33 states and led by attorney Steve Berman, claims that Apple’s actions caused customers to spend an extra $280m on ebooks following the introduction of its iPad and iBooks Store. Berman says that Apple should have to pay triple that amount to the claimants.

Last summer’s ruling found that Apple and publishers raised ebook prices “across the board,” imposing “large and essentially simultaneous” price increases on new releases, bestselling ebooks, and backlist ebooks, creating “an industry-wide shift in price upward.”

When Apple was found guilty of increasing the price of ebooks it was not asked for damages as part of the case.

In Berman’s court filing on Friday he wrote, “the conspiracy caused widespread antitrust injury to e-book consumers.” Apple hasn’t commented on the latest filing but it is appealing last year’s ruling.