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AG Lauds Supreme Court Decision Clearing Way for $9 Million for Apple Customers in MD

March 7th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today applauded a U.S. Supreme Court decision that clears the way for more than $9 million to be returned to Marylanders who paid higher prices for electronic books because of price-fixing by Apple Inc.

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Apple’s petition for review in United States v. Apple Inc., which makes final lower court decisions that Apple orchestrated a price-fixing conspiracy with major e-book publishers, and substantially raised prices.

The decision triggers Apple’s obligation to pay more than $9 million to Marylander customers, and $400 million overall, with customers receiving the refunds in the form of credits to be applied to future purchases.

“It is deeply troubling when companies conspire to thwart competition and take more money from our wallets, and that is just what Apple has done,” said Attorney General Frosh. “I am glad that this important case has come to an end, with purchasers of e-books getting the relief they deserve.”

Starting in 2012, Maryland has been among the leaders in an investigation and antitrust complaint against Apple and five e-book publishers (Harper Collins, Hachette, Penguin, Simon & Schuster and MacMillan), charging the companies with conspiring to artificially raise prices. Maryland and other states had previously settled with the publishers for $166 million. Apple’s payment will bring to $566 million the amount repaid to e-book purchasers nationwide who had been overcharged as a result of Apple’s and the publishers’ illegal conspiracy.

Attorney General Frosh thanked Assistant Attorneys General Ellen Cooper and John Tennis for their ongoing work on the case.

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