Yesterday, millions of e-book purchasers started to receive credits and cheques for twice what Apple and its cronies in the publishing world stole from them. Apple’s Steve Jobs realising he could not compete with Amazon by playing fair, hatched out a deal with the five largest publishers to fix the price of ebooks.
The court was told that the anticompetitive price-fixing collusion between Apple and the publishers caused the price of e-books to increase 30 to 50 percent to $12.99 or $14.99 from Amazon's $9.99 price.
While Jobs’ co-conspirators fessed up to the crime, Apple refused and wasted time and money defending the allegations in court. Its case was weakened by the fact that Jobs bragged about his conspiracy to journalists.
Apple executives were so mad about a court finding it guilty it even refused to co-operate with a court appointed person who was supposed to help them see the error of their ways.
In the end, despite appeals Apple and the publishers finally started paying out. Consumers will receive a $6.93 credit for every e-book which was a New York Times bestseller, and a $1.57 credit for other e-books.
Attorneys say the process is uniquely simple for consumers – credits will be automatically sent directly into the accounts of consumers at major book retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple. Retailers will issue emails and put the credits in the accounts simultaneously.
If e-book purchasers requested a check in lieu of a credit, they will receive a check. If purchasers received a credit during the first round of distribution of publisher settlements, and they did not opt out, they will automatically receive a credit.
The combined $400 million that will go to consumers follows the final stage in the lawsuit in which the Supreme Court denied appeal from Apple, bringing the consumer payback amount to more than twice the amount of losses suffered by the class of e-book purchasers. This represents one of the most successful recovery of damages in any antitrust lawsuit in the country.
Hagens Berman litigated the case jointly with the United States Department of Justice and attorneys general from 33 U.S. states and territories.