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Amazon Sending New Round of Credits to E-Book Buyers as Part of Apple Price Fixing Settlement

Customers who purchased a Kindle e-book between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 may be receiving a credit from Amazon this morning as the retailer continues distributing funds from an antitrust lawsuit levied against Apple back in 2013 by the United States Justice Department.

Emails were sent out to eligible customers in the United States this morning, and Amazon has also set up a website that will list available credits for those who are eligible for a refund.

Apple, along with five other publishers including HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, and Penguin, was found guilty of conspiring to inflate the prices of e-books to weaken Amazon’s dominant position in the market. While the five publishers settled, Apple held out and appealed several times, but was ultimately ordered to pay a total of $450 million.

Apple maintained its innocence throughout the initial trial and appeals, and has argued that its deals with publishers introduced competition to a market that was largely controlled by Amazon. The United States Justice Department did not see it that way, though, as Apple’s efforts ultimately raised prices for consumers.


Several rounds of refunds have already been distributed as a result of the lawsuit. In 2014, customers received refunds funded by publishers, and in 2016, refunds totaling $400 million, or the bulk of the money paid by Apple, were sent out. This new round of refunds has also been funded by Apple’s settlement and comes from $20 million that was earmarked to pay states that were involved in the lawsuit.

Credits sent out today will last for six months and will need to be spent by April 20, 2018.

Update: Customers are also receiving notices about available Apple credits that are also being distributed today. Credits are being added to Apple accounts automatically and can be used in iBooks, iTunes, and the App Store.

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Lawsuit claims Essential stole modular accessory tech

Andy Rubin’s Essential Products is facing more legal troubles. The ex-Android chief’s company previously found itself in hot water with smartphone accessory maker Spigen over its use of the “Essential” name. Now — less than two months since the rele…

Apple ordered to pay $440 million to FaceTime patent troll

VirnetX’s seemingly endless FaceTime patent lawsuit against Apple is winding down… sort of. An Eastern District of Texas court has denied all of Apple’s motions to end the case in a non-infringement ruling or retrial, leaving the tech giant with a…

Qualcomm files lawsuit in China to stop production of iPhones

Qualcomm filed suit in China requesting a ban on the creation and sale of iPhones in the country, Bloomberg reports. The lawsuit claims patent infringement and is seeking injunctive relief. It’s the latest in the bitter legal feud between the tech ti…

‘Fortnite’ studio Epic Games sues two alleged cheaters

Earlier this week, Fortnite publisher Epic Games filed a civil suit against two people who were allegedly cheating while playing the game online. They were associated with subscription-based website Addicted Cheats and used its services to hun…

New Article Delves Into Origins of Ongoing Legal Feud Between Apple and Qualcomm

A new in-depth story about the ongoing legal fight between Apple and Qualcomm has been posted online today by Bloomberg Businessweek, going behind the scenes of the accusations and rebuttals made by the two tech companies. The fight centers upon the “Qualcomm tax,” or the amount of money that Qualcomm charges smartphone makers for the internal components of a device that allows it to connect to a cellular signal, also known as the smartphone’s modem.

According to court documents seen by Bloomberg Businessweek, the true origin of the feud is described as starting two summers ago at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. There, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee are believed to have “shared a quiet word,” where Cook told Lee to “pressure” South Korean antitrust regulators into intensifying a Qualcomm investigation that had been open for about a year at the time.


Apple wanted to get itself in front of investigators and spur more questions about the Qualcomm tax, which it could do because it was in an agreement with the modem supplier. That deal had lowered the tax from $30 to about $10 per iPhone, with Apple promising not to challenge any of Qualcomm’s patents. However, it meant that Apple could truthfully answer any question in an investigation about the supplier that was already under way — which Qualcomm claims was exactly Apple’s intent at the Idaho conference.

Qualcomm claims that at the event—almost certainly the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, which both Cook and Lee attended—the Apple executive urged Samsung to pressure South Korean antitrust regulators to intensify an investigation into Qualcomm that had been open since 2014. “Get aggressive,” the Apple executive said, according to Qualcomm’s filing, adding that this would be the “best chance” to get Qualcomm to lower its prices.

Apple says nothing improper happened. “I don’t know what conversation they are talking about,” says Bruce Sewell, the company’s general counsel, in an interview at headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. “For Apple to have said to Samsung, ‘You guys are in Korea and you should be watching this case carefully,’ doesn’t seem to me to be anything beyond simply the kind of conversation two CEOs might have.”

The story then details a few other parts of Qualcomm’s history, including its massive “Patent Wall” that greets visitors to its headquarters, displaying patents for Qualcomm’s CDMA specification and others that the company claims to be for the first smartphone and app store. “I can’t think of a keystroke that you can do on a phone that probably doesn’t touch a Qualcomm invention,” said CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

Apple was reliant on Qualcomm for this reason for many years, as it produced the highest quality modems in the supply chain and forced the Cupertino company to deal with the Qualcomm tax. That changed in 2015 when Intel began producing modems that would arrive in the iPhone 7. According to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell, “What prompted us to bring the case now as opposed to five years ago is simple, it’s the availability of a second source.”

This introduction of a quality second source in the modem supply chain was met with another point by Apple: a smartphone modem is simply one of many components that make up an iPhone — and of “no special significance” as modern consumers rely less on the actual cellular features of the device. These two points encouraged Apple’s decision to fight back against Qualcomm, ultimately leading to Apple’s lawsuit earlier this year, a Qualcomm countersuit soon after, and more companies joining Apple in its fight.

“Cellular connectivity is important,” he says, “but it’s not as important as it used to be.” On another table behind Sewell, an Apple representative has laid out two versions of the iPhone 7: One model, which has 128 gigabytes of memory was sold by Apple for $750. The other, which has 256 GB, sold for $100 more. How is it fair, Apple asks, for Qualcomm to charge as much as $5 more for the technology in the more expensive phone, given that the two devices are otherwise identical?

In July, Qualcomm claimed that Apple infringed on six of its new patents concerning battery life and graphics processing in smartphones, and in August the U.S. International Trade Commission opened an investigation into Apple’s alleged infringement with a decision date aimed around the time of the September 2018 iPhone launch. The patent infringement accusation is said to be designed to disrupt Apple’s supply chain and “push the company to negotiate,” with Qualcomm CEO Mollenkopf stating that all of the legal back-and-forth won’t last forever, expecting Apple to settle soon.

That won’t happen according to Sewell: “There’s no way that this case settles, absent a complete reinvention of the licensing model that Qualcomm has adapted in the industry.”

Check out the fully story by Bloomberg Businessweek right here.

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Supreme Court: Samsung's in-box warranty can't kill lawsuit

Samsung can’t force a closed-door proceeding to settle a lawsuit filed by a customer who felt misled about the capabilities of his Galaxy S4, the Supreme Court has ruled. The Korean tech giant has been trying to squash the lawsuit since it was filed,…

White House: Yes, the president blocks critics on Twitter

Yes, the president does block critics on Twitter. That’s what the latest legal filing related to President Trump’s Twitter activities has revealed. If you’ll recall, seven individuals filed a lawsuit claiming Trump is violating the First Amendment by…

Ruling gives FAA more power over drones than local governments

When it comes to drone regulations, the FAA’s rules trump anything local governments conjure up. That’s what a federal court in Massachusetts has proven when it ruled in favor of a commercial drone owner who sued the city of Newton over its drone ord…

Google sued by female ex-employees over pay discrimination

Google’s salary practices are back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Three women who worked for the company are suing over gender-based wage discrimination. The plaintiffs claim Google knew about the pay inequalities (or, at least, should h…

Google sued by female ex-employees over pay discrimination

Google’s salary practices are back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Three women who worked for the company are suing over gender-based wage discrimination. The plaintiffs claim Google knew about the pay inequalities (or, at least, should h…

Monkey selfie copyright battle ends with a settlement

The battle over who owns the rights to a monkey’s selfies has raged for years, but it’s coming to a quiet end. Camera owner David Slater, PETA and Blurb have reached a settlement in the case before a federal appeals court could rule whether or not S…

Wannabe screenwriters: Maybe don't tweet your movie idea

If Twitter existed in the ’70s and Sylvester Stallone used it, he may have ended up a nobody while someone like Burt Reynolds starred in Rocky. A judge dismissed a lawsuit by little-known actor Jarrett Alexander, over an idea he tweeted to Stallone i…

Owner of YouTube ripping site settles lawsuit with record labels

Last year, record labels took the popular YouTube-ripping site YouTube-mp3.org to court seeking the pirating website’s permanent shutdown and $150,000 per violation. Well, the labels, helmed by the RIAA, have, as of today, won with recent court filin…

US judge says Yahoo data breach victims have the right to sue

Verizon will now have to deal with any lawsuit filed by victims of the massive breaches Yahoo suffered between 2013 and 2016. US District Judge Lucy Koh has tossed out Yahoo’s argument that the people affected by the cyberattacks don’t have the stand…

Nintendo ordered to pay $10 million in Wii patent lawsuit

Today, a Dallas jury awarded iLife Technologies $10 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against Nintendo of America. The suit, which was brought forth in 2013, alleged that Nintendo used iLife’s technology when creating its motion-sensing Wii…

Discord chats may be crucial to lawsuits over neo-Nazi violence

Discord was quick to shut down neo-Nazi servers and accounts in the wake of racist violence in Charlottesville, but that doesn’t mean those conversations are gone forever. In fact, they may be instrumental to making criminal cases and lawsuits stick…

Sony owes Xperia owners a refund over faulty water resistance

When you buy a phone billed as water-resistant, you generally expect it to survive accidental dunks. Some Sony phone owners have a very different story, though — their supposedly resistant phones took water damage that required an expensive f…

Former Uber CEO says fraud lawsuit defies common sense

Travis Kalanick says Benchmark Capital, the Uber board member suing him for fraud, pretended to be on his side and then forced him to resign as CEO while he was vulnerable due to the death of his mother. The former Uber chief has filed his res…

LinkedIn can’t block scrapers from monitoring user activity

Your LinkedIn activity could soon be used to keep tabs on you at work. On Monday, a US federal judge ruled that the Microsoft-owned social network cannot block a startup from accessing public data. The company in question, hiQ Labs, scrapes Li…

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