Apple has settled a portion of its e-book price-fixing case involving several state governments which were seeking up to $840 million on behalf of consumers.
The case was scheduled to go to trial in July, about one year after a federal judge ruled that Apple led a conspiracy to raise the price of e-books. In that case, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the judge found that Apple was the ringleader of a cartel that included five major book publishers.
As part of the launch of the iPad in 2010, Apple created its own digital bookstore and struck deals with those publishers who were eager to rally behind a company that might offer competition to Amazon.com, which, they believed, heavily discounted books below the cost of sale to gain market share. Apple worked with the publishers to allow them to set their own book prices individually, with Apple keeping 30% of the sale.
But in doing so, the judge found that the companies colluded with Apple to create a model that increased the cost of many e-books for consumers. While Apple continues to appeal that case, the judge ordered the appointment of an antitrust monitor to patrol Apple's deals with content companies.
That case, however, did not involve monetary damages. In their related case, the states were seeking damages and refunds to consumers who they claimed were forced to overpay for books.
According to Bloomberg, the judge in the case involving the states ordered the parties to file details of the settlement within a month.
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