Apple might have one of the largest market capitalizations around, and needless to say, they are a very rich company. However, $450 million is no chump change, either, but that is the fine that Apple has to pay after being found guilty of fixing the prices of books – while bringing down the curtain on a long-running fight.
Earlier this morning, an appeals court in New York upheld a 2013 verdict which did point out how Apple organized an illegal conspiracy with five book publishers in order to ensure that the price of ebooks are raised, and the judgment mentioned how such horizontal price-fixing happens to be “the supreme evil of antitrust.” This $450 million fine and final ruling would bring an end to the long-running legal fight between Apple and the U.S. Justice Department. In other words, Apple can begin to issue payouts to consumers as well where a connected class-action settlement is concerned.
The five book publishers mentioned in the case happen to be Harper Collins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan, and not a single one of them decided to fight legally back then, having settled the case before it entered the courtroom, leaving Apple to stand alone. In hindsight, that looked to be a wise choice.
Judge Debra Ann Livingston wrote, “Because we conclude that the district court did not err in deciding that Apple violated § 1 of the Sherman Act, and because we also conclude that the 6 district court’s injunction was lawful and consistent with preventing future anticompetitive harms, we affirm.” If you are interested, the entire ruling can be read here.