Apple finally settles on book cartel case

The fruity maker of the rounded rectangle has reached a somewhat strange settlement with US states and other complainants in an e-book price-fixing class action lawsuit.

The move will mean that Apple will avoid a trial in which it faced more than $800 million in claims.

However the cargo cult still does not appear to have admitted that it is guilty of running a cartel to increase the price of books. It has made the agreement as a backup if it fails to win its appeal.

US District Judge in Manhattan Denise Cote found that Apple took part in a price-fixing conspiracy to fight online retailer Inc’s dominance in the e-book market.

Apple is appealing that decision and the new settlement is contingent on the outcome of that appeal.

Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, told the judge that any payment to be made by Apple under the settlement agreement will be contingent on the outcome of that appeal.

So in other words if it wins its appeal it will not have to pay anything. The judge has ordered the parties to submit a filing to seek approval of their settlement within 30 days.

The US Department of Justice sued Apple and five publishers in April 2012, accusing them of working together illegally to increase e-book prices.

Apple has refused to admit that it has done anything wrong and got antsy if anyone said it did. Some of it might be due to the fact that the whole thing was dreamed up by Steve Jobs who in Apple lore is truly perfect and loves users.

The complainants are seeking up to $840 million in damages for e-book customers. The exact amount of damages was to be decided at a trial scheduled for July 14.

Apple’s co-conspirators, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group (USA), Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, previously agreed to pay more than $166 million to settle related antitrust charges.