Settlement credits sent to e-book buyers
Some Amazon.com Inc. e-book customers received credits Tuesday as part of the $166 million price-fixing settlement five book publishers reached with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The payments, which vary depending on how many e-books consumers bought between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012, stem from an antitrust suit filed in April 2012 that accused the publishers of conspiring to raise prices to undermine Amazon’s grip on the e-book business.
Customers received $3.17 for every New York Times bestseller purchased during this time, and 73 cents for other books. Minnesota residents got slightly more because their attorney general negotiated a separate deal.
Those publishers — Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster — provided the funds, which are being handed out by Amazon and other e-book sellers, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple. Details about the settlement can be found at http://www.ebooksagsettlements.com.
Apple, which chose not to settle the case, was ordered last fall to modify its contracts with publishers and hire an outside monitor to make sure the company complies with antitrust laws. A trial to determine damages that Apple may be required to pay is expected to start later this year.
The Seattle Times
Senators offer bill aids automakers’ fatality reports
WASHINGTON — As General Motors comes under scrutiny by the U.S. Congress for its handling of a long-running problem with ignition switches linked to 12 deaths, two senators on Tuesday offered legislation aimed at improving the auto industry's reporting of safety problems.
Democratic Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut introduced a bill that would require automobile manufacturers to provide more information about fatal accidents involving their vehicles and better public access to those reports.
On April 1 the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold its first hearing into GM's handling of last month's recall of 1.6 million cars because of faulty ignition switches that can shut off engines and safety equipment during operation, sometimes at high speeds.
The recalls came well over a decade after the safety problem first came to GM's attention.
Home sales fall, but consumer confidence hits 6-year high
WASHINGTON — Sales of new U.S. single-family homes hit a five-month low in February, but a surge in consumer confidence to a six-year high in March suggested the economy was regaining momentum after being held back by severe weather.
Other data on Tuesday showed solid gains in house prices, which should boost household wealth and support consumer spending. An unusually cold and snowy winter disrupted economic activity at the start of the year.
New home sales fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units, the lowest level since last September, the Commerce Department said. January’s sales were revised down to a 455,000-unit pace from a 468,000-unit rate.
Last month’s drop brought new home sales in line with other data such as home resales and building activity that have offered a downbeat picture of the housing market.
Ray-Ban maker gets Google Glass deal
Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, has struck a deal to design, develop and distribute glasses based on Google’s Internet-connected Glass eyewear, potentially bringing the new technology to a wider market.
Google Glass is a small stamp-sized screen attached to a pair of spectacle frames. It can record video, access email, and retrieve information from the Web by connecting wirelessly to a user’s cellphone.
Italy’s Luxottica said on Tuesday its two major brands, Ray-Ban and Oakley, would be part of the deal, but gave no financial or other details.