Apple to pay consumers $400 million if appeal of e-book ruling fails

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Apple will pay as much as $400 million to consumers in 33 states and District of Columbia to settle federal charges that the company participated in a price-fixing conspiracy that drove up the price of e-books.

Details of the settlement agreement were released today. The agreement was reached June 16, 2014, and is pending court approval. The amount that consumers receive also is conditional on Apple’s pending appeal of a July 2013 federal court ruling that says the company violated antitrust laws.

According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, if the appellate court orders a retrial, Apple would pay $50 million to consumers and the case wouldn’t be retried. Apple would pay nothing if the appellate court rules that Apple didn’t violate antitrust laws, Schneiderman says. It’s unclear when an appellate court ruling would happen.

Department of Justice and state attorneys general say Apple conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices artificially`. The efforts coincided with the launch of Apple’s iPad and iBookstore in 2010. In March 2014, the publishers agreed to pay $166 million in refunds.