Apple’s shrinking e-book antitrust settlement
Court papers filed Wednesday answered the multi-million dollar question raised four weeks ago when Steve Berman, a lawyer representing e-book buying consumers, filed a letter in a New York federal court.
Berman’s letter was addressed to Denise Cote, the district judge who found Apple liable last year for conspiring to fix the prices of e-books. Berman said that Apple had struck a deal on damages, but didn’t say for how much.
The answer, it turns out, is somewhere between $450 million and $0.
Here’s how the negotiations went:
- Plaintiffs (the states that sued Apple and consumers in the states that didn’t) let it be known that they were looking for damages of up to $840 million.
- They settled, according to Wednesday’s filing, for $450 million — $50 million in attorneys fees, $400 million for e-book buyers.
- That amount gets reduced to $70 million ($20 million for attorneys fees, $50 million for consumers, probably in the form of store credits) if the case is sent back to Judge Cote for reconsideration or retrial.
- It goes to zero if Apple wins a reversal on appeal.
“This was the best deal we could get,” Berman told Reuters.
“We did nothing wrong,” Apple said, for the umteenth time, “and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it.”
The five publishers who were part of the original suit have already paid a total of $166 million to settle the charges filed against them.