A US judge is still in the process of handling the DOJ lawsuit against Apple–along with five of the then-Big Six publishers–for conspiring to raise the price of ebooks in order to impact the market share that Amazon held over the industry. The outcome, which included settlements from most of the publishers seeking to avoid lengthy and costly court battles as well as a guilty verdict for Apple that is currently in appeals, has yet to be finalized, but Judge Denise Cote is expected to seek the maximum amount of damages against Apple for its violation of Section One of the Sherman Act.
Last week, a new lawsuit was filed on behalf of consumers in 33 states, and this one seeks the full amount allowable under the law, or triple the amount that consumers presumably lost due to the collusion to overcharge for ebooks. This amount, if approved by the judge, would be well in the range of $840 million dollars.
That is a big if, however. A number of class action suits have been filed on behalf of consumers in this case, and this latest suit may be too little too late to sway Cote in her ruling. If the attorney who filed the suit, Steve Berman, has his way, though, one of his chief witnesses is prepared to demonstrate how much the consumers were overcharged with metrics from an economist based on the 18% rise in ebook sales as a result of artificial price fluctuations.