Apple has agreed to settle a lawsuit led by Norfolk County Council, agreeing to pay a staggering $490 million (£385 million) in damages. The class action lawsuit, spearheaded by the council, alleged that Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, misled shareholders by concealing diminishing iPhone demand in China, resulting in financial losses for investors.

Norfolk Council, representing a pension fund it administers, highlighted the financial impact of Mr. Cook's purported actions, emphasizing its commitment to safeguarding investors' interests. The council expressed satisfaction with the settlement, underscoring its responsibility as stewards of pensions relied upon by numerous families and individuals.

The lawsuit centered on remarks made by Tim Cook to investors in November 2018, where he downplayed sales pressure in China. However, two months later, Apple revised its revenue forecast downward, citing tensions between China and the US, which led to a significant decline in Apple's stock value. Additionally, reports emerged during this period indicating that Apple had instructed its top smartphone assemblers to halt plans for additional production lines for the iPhone XR.

The claimants, comprising investors who purchased shares between November 2018 and January 2019, asserted that they suffered financial losses due to the false reassurances provided by Mr. Cook's earlier statements.

Initially brought by the US city of Roseville, the lawsuit was later taken over by Norfolk Council as the lead plaintiff in 2020. Despite Apple's resistance, the parties reached a preliminary settlement, subject to approval by a judge, potentially averting a scheduled trial later this year.

The settlement amount's allocation to Norfolk County Council remains undisclosed. Nonetheless, considering Apple's substantial net income of $97 billion in the last fiscal year, the payout, equivalent to nearly two days of profit for the tech giant, underscores the magnitude of the resolution in what is one of the world's wealthiest companies.