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Apple to pay $450M fine after US Supreme Court rejects e-book antitrust appeal

Apple's closing slide in its e-book antitrust case. | Source: U.S. District Court

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revealed it won't hear Apple's appeal in its iBooks antitrust lawsuit, leaving the iPad maker to pay a $450 million fine to resolve the dispute.

The Supreme Court rejected Apple's appeal and won't hear the case, leaving in place the original settlement from 2014, according to Bloomberg. Apple filed its appeal all the way to America's highest court last October, in hopes of having the $450 million settlement overturned.

Per the terms of the 2014 settlement agreement, Apple owes $400 million to e-book consumers, $30 million in legal fees, and the remaining $20 million to states involved in the lawsuit.

In July 2013, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote sided with Justice Department and found that Apple conspired with publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices, based on evidence like emails from former CEO Steve Jobs. Although Amazon's then-standard $10 price tag was allegedly the main target, Apple's tactics forced standard prices up several dollars across the industry.

For the launch of the iBookstore, Apple and book publishers opted to switch to a so-called "agency" pricing model, that allowed publishers to control the prices of books and prevented resellers like Amazon from undercutting those rates. The subsequent increase in e-book prices led the government to take action.

Since then, the agency has switched back to the "wholesale model" preferred by Amazon, which allows resellers to set prices, and sell titles at or below costs if they so choose.