A few months after giving a preliminary acceptance, a federal judge has finally approved Apple's settlement in a long-running ebook price-fixing lawsuit. During a hearing last week, US District Judge Denise Cote approved what she termed as a "highly unusual" accord, something which would see the Cupertino-based company pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers, and $50 million to lawyers.

The settlement, however, hinges on the outcome of Apple's appeal of the original antitrust ruling -- in case the court of appeals reverses and remands the case back to district court, the iPhone maker would owe only $50 million to consumers and $20 million to lawyers, and if the company wins its appeal, it will not have to pay a single penny.

The case stems from a complaint filed by the DOJ back in April 2012, accusing Apple and five of the largest US book publishers of colluding to increase ebooks prices and working together to break Amazon's hold on the market. The accused publishers, including Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, opted for a $166 million settlement before the case went to trial.

In July last year, after a nonjury trial, Cote ruled that Apple was guilty of the charges pressed against it. The tech giant is appealing that ruling.