Well, that’s that.

All we’ll hear about it from the Supreme Court is a single line under the listing of “Certiorari Denied” on the Supreme Court’s current list of summary dispositions (PDF)—but suffice it to say that it’s finally over. The Supreme Court won’t be hearing Apple’s final appeal of the antitrust decision against it, the appeals court decision affirming Judge Cote’s can stand, and Apple should get ready to start paying out $400 million in consumer refunds (despite the failed attempts of a professional objector to stick it with more) and $50 million to lawyers. Wonder how much I’ll get back?

Andrew Albanese has his usual excellent coverage of the history of the case and the details of the settlement at Publishers Weekly; Bloomberg has it, too. Thankfully, it’s finally over, and we shouldn’t have to hear too much more about it once the payments are dispensed. Expect a flurry of commentary and reactions from across the blogosphere in the next few days, though.

On the whole, it’s not terribly surprising that the court ruled the way it did. As a number of participants in the blog symposium I covered pointed out, there was nothing really special about it, except in the minds of Apple’s defenders—and every antitrust case is special to the defendant. It’s unclear whether Scalia’s death affected the decision, though it couldn’t have helped Apple’s case any. It’s also uncertain he’d have favored Apple if he was still around.

In the end, the suit didn’t really make a whole lot of difference over the longer term where e-book prices are concerned. It delayed the onset of agency pricing, but it still came back and looks like it’s here to stay in the end—possibly even by Amazon’s own request. But it did smack the publishers down, force them to stop conspiring with each other as a matter of course even on things like book release dates, and kick back some of the publishers’ and Apple’s ill-gotten gains to the people who had to overspend on agency-priced titles.

And it also means I can get a smug sense of satisfaction by saying, as a statement of fact, Apple broke the law by conspiring with publishers to implement agency pricing. No more arguments that “it isn’t settled yet,” or denials, or weasel-words like “allegedly”: the courts officially found that Apple broke the law and its appeal was denied.

Apple. Broke. The. Law.

(And so did the publishers, though they settled to avoid an official judgment—but if Apple’s conduct was illegal, then so was theirs.)

I’m going to enjoy saying that for quite some time to come.


  1. If I remember right, it only takes 4 of the 9 Justices to grant certiorari, so not even a majority. Apple’s legal arguments couldn’t even get that. What they did was a per se violation and I’m glad the Supreme Court denied cert. The 2nd Circuit got it right.

    If anyone wants to read more about the case and the laughable brief filed by Authors United, you can check out Chris’s coverage of one of my blog posts here: http://www.teleread.com/authors-guild-amicus-brief-aims-for-emotional-appeal-over-valid-argument-says-law-student-randy-morris/

      • “Your side” lost on the day the DoJ filed the lawsuit. There was never any question as to the outcome. Over half the states’ attorneys general joined the lawsuit, including the one from Texas. “1984” was a blunder committed by Amazon nearly 7 years ago and had absolutely nothing to do with this case. Amazon was instructed not to repeat the mistake and they haven’t. “Standards” are also irrelevant.

        This case was about collusion between Apple and the 5 publisher conspirators. Apple had zero marketshare in ebooks but they had considerable market power. The publishers had control of the vast share of the entire book market, not just the ebook portion. The preponderance of the evidence showed that antitrust occurred and consumers were harmed. The District Judge agreed, the Appellate Court agreed and the SCOTUS declined granting Cert for the case. This case was always going to be a slam dunk.

          • “Amazon adapts standards, right? It’s all good, right?”

            You mean standards like my micro usb fitting every kindle model I own, but my wife has three different powercords for her iphone, iPad and my daughters older model iPhone? That sort of standard?

            As for lack of profits, Amazon spends the money it makes, reinvesting it into its business. Sure, it’s not sitting on a 200 Billion is cash like Apple is, but then Apples going to be donating that money to charities, or improving conditions and hiring therapists to cut down on the number of suicides at Foxconn and Pegatron..oh wait, they’re still sitting on that pile of cash.

            Maybe they’re saving it to pay out the damages from all the lawsuits they have recently lost in a prompt and timely manner?

          • I don’t have a clue about how Amazon’s factories compare to Apple’s and I doubt you know either.
            As for cables LOL, be my guest and stick with your slow USB and WIFI forever.
            Yup remember how long PCs stuck with RS-232 and your family was surely ecstatic about that!

    • Good to see you staying on topic. For any large company out there, you can easily find tales of love from disgruntled employees. However, this was a legal case that had nothing to do with any of this. There have been many articles referring to the many poor ways companies like Apple, Amazon, Samsung etc, treat their employees. Feel free to join the discussion when those articles re-appear and close your eyes to any evil Apple does

      • Perhaps I went off topic, and of course there are endless tales of Apple forcing its employees to watch videos of their colleagues get arrested. YouTube is full of them.
        And perhaps Apple was guilty here and it has a very driven demanding secretive corporate culture, but it is no where as screwed up and profitless as Amazon Dot CON!

        • So true, but the bit that you are still adding to your main sentence is ‘perhaps’. there is no need for it.

          Apple was guilty. Not ‘perhaps Apple was guilty’.

          I hope that the laws become better at protecting employees of all these large companies (I can’t see it happening with the way all sides of politics are operating right now). It seems that the laws are designed to help these large companies make as much money as possible.

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