More details are now public about the deal Apple reached in June to settle claims that it engaged in price-fixing in the e-book market. That settlement was approved by a federal judge on Friday. It’s an unusual one, in which Apple essentially bets the outcome in its class-action lawsuit on the outcome of another case. In 2011, Apple got sued in a class-action case, where a class of e-book buying consumers was ultimately joined by attorneys general of various states. The Department of Justice also came after Apple for price-fixing, and the government won that case in 2013.
A federal judge on Friday approved a settlement in which Apple could begin paying $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers related to charges that it violated antitrust law by conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices and thwart efforts by Amazon. In the hearing on Friday, Judge Denise L. Cote of Federal District Court in Manhattan approved an unusual settlement reached this summer in which Apple agreed to pay $400 million to consumers in cash and e-book credits, and $50 million to lawyers. Those figures could still change, however, if an appeals court overturns a 2013 verdict in the case, in which Apple was found to have conspired with five major publishers to fix the price of e-books. The court, which will hear Apple’s challenge on Dec. 15, is not expected to change its previous ruling. In the event the court overturns the verdict and returns the case to Judge Cote, Apple would pay $50 million to consumers and $20 million to the lawyers.