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Apple loses e-book antitrust appeal

Blair Hanley Frank | July 1, 2015
An appeals court ruled against Apple's challenge of a lower court's decision which found the company liable for illegally conspiring with e-book publishers to jack up prices.

Bill Baer, an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said in an emailed statement that the agency was "gratified by the court's decision."

"I am proud of the outstanding work done by the trial team who initially established Apple's liability and by the lawyers who defended the district court's decision in this appeal," he said. "The Antitrust Division will continue to vigorously protect competition and enforce the antitrust laws in this important business, and in other industries that affect the everyday lives of consumers."

As a result of the ruling, Apple is on the hook to pay consumers $400 million as part of a settlement the company reached with a class of e-book buyers and 33 state attorneys general. The company will also owe the lawyers in that case an additional $50 million. Had the court struck down the judgement, Apple wouldn't have owed a cent. Steve W. Berman, a managing partner of law firm Hagens Berman and lead attorney representing the consumer class in that case, said in an emailed statement that the firm is "pleased at the recovery we have been able to secure."

The news comes on what is an otherwise good day for Apple, which just released its new music streaming service and Internet radio station. However, its entry into the streaming music market may be a harbinger of future antitrust woes, since the Attorneys General for New York and Connecticut are investigating the company's practices in setting up Apple Music.

 

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