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EU ends antitrust investigation into e-book deals

updated 11:17 am EST, Thu December 13, 2012

Regulators accept offer from Apple, four publishers

European Commission regulators have accepted a concession offer from Apple and four major book publishers and halted an antitrust investigation into e-book pricing, Reuters reports. "The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books," claims EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. The publishers include Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan.

Under the terms of the agreement, Apple and the publishers will have to let retailers set their own e-book prices for at least two years; any "most-favoured nation" contracts have been scratched for five years. Such contracts prevent publishers from making deals with rival retailers to sell books at a lower price. In the case that prompted the EU probe, Apple was mandating that prices couldn't be set any lower than they were on the iBookstore, a move that was widely believed to be aimed at sabotaging the low prices Amazon was offering for Kindle books.

Despite the arrangement, and the popularity of the iPhone and iPad, Apple is still a minor player in the e-book market. Amazon controls 65 percent of US sales, followed by Barnes & Noble at 27 percent. That leaves every other e-book seller scrambling for just 8 percent.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-28-08

    Like most everything else European this is way off base.

    No one is mandating that anyone buy anything from Apple or anyone else. No one is being forced to buy Apple products either. No one forces anyone to go into a bookstore.

    Why these "justice" departments don't look into Amazon's "loss leader" strategy to strangle competition is beyond me. Any price according to EU is the right price as long as it is the lowest price.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Originally Posted by BobfozzView Post

    Like most everything else European this is way off base.



    What is that supposed to mean?

  1. elroth

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-05-06

    Originally Posted by BobfozzView Post

    Like most everything else European this is way off base.



    Funny you should say that when the proposed U.S. action is much worse, and in fact brands Apple a criminal.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    [QUOTE=Bobfozz;4206586]Like most everything else European this is way off base.



    What is that supposed to mean?[/quote]

    We're all completely crazy here.

    Didn't you know that?

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    price fixing is illegal, that's it. Now how do we get to OPEC?

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Originally Posted by BobfozzView Post

    Why these "justice" departments don't look into Amazon's "loss leader" strategy to strangle competition is beyond me.



    If you want the answer to that, you need look no further than a) Amazon's lobbying budget compared to Apple's and b) numerous press accounts of Amazon meeting with and wining/dining Justice Department officials.

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-28-08

    Did you guys bother to read what I wrote?
    None of these things are price fixing except in European eyes who believe everyone deserves a bite of the "apple" when in fact none of this is essential. You don't like something, DON'T BUY it! Does it get harder to figure out than that?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Interestingly, German law expressly forbids the discounting of books ("Buchpreisbindung"). The price, once set, cannot be lowered by any third party.

    The idea is to maintain a free press by avoiding a rush to the bottom.

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