Apple Hit with Stockholder Lawsuit over eBook Price-Fixing Settlement
News of a new lawsuit against Apple crossed my desk this morning.
Apple shareholders are suing CEO Tim Cook along with some of the company’s other executives and directors, claiming that their role in a price-fixing conspiracy with publishers damaged the company.
According to a complaint filed on Thursday in California state court, Cook and other senior Apple figures bear “responsibility for ensnaring Apple in a multi-year anticompetitive scheme” that resulted in a highly-publicized trial and a proposed $450 million payout by the company to settle related complaints that it illegally raised the price of ebooks.
This lawsuit is a response to Apple’s decision to settle the antitrust lawsuit brought by the DOJ and states’s attorney generals over Apple’s role in the 2010 conspiracy by 5 publishers to raise and fix ebook prices.
The lawsuit is based on the point that the highest levels of Apple’s management knew about the conspiracy at the time the iPad launched. As we can see from the clip below, Steve Jobs more or less admitted to knowing that the 5 publishers which had signed as launch partners for iBooks were going to conspire to raise ebook prices:
Even so, I’m not sure there is anything really newsworthy about this suit; I have to agree with Roberts over at GigaOm that this smells like a nuisance suit brought by lawyers hoping Apple will pay them to go away.