The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal from Apple over an appellate court’s decision which found that the company conspired with five publishers to raise e-book prices in an attempt to break Amazon’s hold on the market.
Reuters reported that Apple will still need to pay a $450 million settlement after it violated federal anti-trust laws. Back in 2013, a U.S. District Court judge found that Apple “played a central role in facilitating and executing” the price-fixing conspiracy, which occurred in 2010 when the tech giant entered the e-book industry.
Apple constantly denied participating in a conspiracy and maintained that its entry into the market spurred more competition. The five publishers ended up agreeing to a $166 million settlement deal — which let Amazon customers receive small amounts of credit — but Apple pushed forward with its appeal.
The courts, however, ultimately disagreed with Apple and sided with the U.S. Justice Department.
“Apple’s liability for knowingly conspiring with book publishers to raise the prices of e-books is settled once and for all,” Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement today. “And consumers will be made whole. The outstanding work of the Department of Justice team – working with our steadfast state attorney general partners – exposed this cynical misconduct by Apple and its book publisher co-conspirators and ensured that justice was done.”
The Justice Department added that “most e-book purchasers will receive reimbursement for the higher prices Apple’s conduct caused them to pay through automatic credits at their e-book retailers. They will be able to apply these credits to future purchases.”
The ruling also ends up as a win for Amazon. Here’s a statement from an Amazon spokesperson:
“We are ready to distribute the court-mandated settlement funds to Kindle customers as soon as we’re instructed to move forward.”