updated 03:36 pm EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
Apple unrepentant, remains in legal battle against USDOJ, states
Publisher Penguin and parent company Pearson have proposed a settlement with 33 US State Attorneys General and other plaintiffs for $75 million to resolve its lawsuit accusing it of price fixing in conjunction with Apple and the iBookstore. If accepted by the judge, the settlement resolves all antitrust complaints against Penguin related to the suit on the state level.
Penguin had offered to drop e-book deals with Apple that inflated prices for Amazon and other vendors in April. Penguin is the fifth publisher to settle with the European Union's antitrust agency, joining Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillian, which along with Apple reached a settlement with the Commission in December.
In December, Penguin settled with the US Department of Justice, offering to cease doing business with any e-book seller it is currently doing business with, including Apple. The publisher will also be prohibited from signing new deals with any distributors that limit discounts for a period of two years.
Apple considers the suit "fundamentally flawed" and argues that the suit will harm consumers and return the e-book monopoly to Amazon. Apple has pointed out in the past that Amazon has had to cease "predatory pricing" and still has 60 percent of the nascent market, forcing it to complete more fairly than its previous 90 percent marketshare.
Following the announcement of the proposed deal, the firm representing consumers in this case Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro declared that "This proposed settlement is a powerful demonstration of what is possible when federal, state and private class antitrust enforcement lawyers work together. In this case, the level of cooperation was unprecedented, and the results that we were able to deliver to the states and consumers demonstrate that."