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Apple to Pay $450 Million E-Book Settlement After Supreme Court Waves Off Case

The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Apple's appeal of the lower court's ruling.

Asa Mathat

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review an appeals court decision that Apple conspired with book publishers to hike the price of e-books, a decision that means Apple must pay a $450 million settlement.

The high court offered no explanation for refusing to hear Apple’s appeal.

That means Apple must abide by the terms of a 2014 settlement to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million e-book consumers who were harmed by Apple’s price-fixing conspiracy with five big book publishers. The company will pay another $50 million to the states and in legal fees.

Apple had argued that the introduction of the iBooks bookstore — which was announced with the 2010 debut of the iPad — resulted in more competition in the market for digital books and benefitted authors, publishers and consumers.

“Following Apple’s entry, output increased, overall prices decreased and a major new retailer began to compete in the market formerly dominated by a single firm,” Apple argued in its petition for Supreme Court review.

The appeals court had rejected that argument, saying the arrangement between Apple and the book publishers served to eliminate price competition by allowing publishers to set e-book prices.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s own words were used against the company. On one occasion, he had told James Murdoch, then head of a News Corp division that included one of the world’s largest book publishers, HarperCollins, that Amazon’s $9.99 sales were “eroding the value perception” of its products and that Apple would be trying higher price points.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.