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The European Commission has announced that it is opening a formal antitrust investigation into whether five international e-book publishers have been practicing anti-competitive tactics with the help of Apple

The European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation Tuesday that will determine if international e-book publishers and Apple have been partaking in anti-competitive activities.

Back in March of this year, the European Commission raided various e-book firms to see whether the sale of e-books breached competition rules. Around the same time, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the United Kingdom launched its own investigation into e-book prices. The European Commission and OFT had been working together through the year on the probe, but the OFT is now shutting its investigation down.

Now, the European Commission has announced that it is opening a formal antitrust investigation into whether five international e-book publishers have been practicing anti-competitive tactics with the help of Apple and its e-book store iBooks.

The five e-book publishers targeted in the investigation are Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France), Harper Collins (News Corp., U.S.A.), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., U.S.A.), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany).

"The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA," said the European Commission's press release. "The Commission is also examining the character and terms of the agency agreements entered into by the above named five publishers and retailers for the sale of e-books."

The European Commission noted that the opening of proceedings indicates that this antitrust case will be treated as a "matter of priority."

There has been quite a bit of e-book drama over the last few months. For instance, the Authors Guild posted an angry blog entry about Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and just last month, Penguin suspended the availability of its e-books to libraries saying that libraries are not allowed to loan e-books for the Kindle. Penguin even went to business partner OverDrive asking that it eliminate its "Get for Kindle" button for Penguin books.

Source: Europa

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By Church of Dirac on 12/6/2011 1:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised Apple isn't investigated more for anticompetitive practices. Their censorship of the App Store and ridiculous litigation against competitors should be enough to get shut down.

RE: Antitrust
By Tony Swash on 12/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: Antitrust
By borismkv on 12/6/2011 5:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
I just gotta know how much you were pissing and moaning about Microsoft's "relentless success" during the 90s and early 2000s

RE: Antitrust
By lightfoot on 12/6/2011 6:55:33 PM , Rating: 2
The most common complaint I hear about Microsoft products is "why isn't component X integrated into the OS like it is on IOS?" They don't realize that Microsoft integrated a lot of functionality into their OS, and then got sued because of it.

Apple today does the same things Microsoft did then - and it is still anti-competitive. The only difference is that Microsoft was a monopoly and it was therefore illegal. Apple hasn't been a monopoly - yet. The day that they do, they will be hit by all the same rules and regulations.

No bundling Safari, iTunes, GarageBand, your fancy hardware or anything else with your OS. Then we can see how much people gush about the Apple OS if it has to compete on an even playing field. Thankfully that day will NEVER come.

RE: Antitrust
By Tony Swash on 12/6/11, Rating: -1
RE: Antitrust
By DeluxeTea on 12/6/2011 10:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
So Apple can do no wrong, and everyone else is evil and stupid?

Yep, we got a w(h)iner here guys.

RE: Antitrust
By MechanicalTechie on 12/7/2011 12:18:27 AM , Rating: 2
So basically you defend Apple because you don’t like MS... dude your such a hypercritic... MS does blows the fat one I will agree to that.. but Apple is gobbling mouthfuls of load

Apple restricts is uses more than any other system, its killing the music industry, openly copies other people and then sues for ridiculous reasons and makes you pay a premium??? WTF!!!

Yes Apple sooooooooooooooo pretty and cool... but i dont wear a dress so this means nothing to me.

Please don't stop defending Apple... because its awesome to see how brainwashed you are!!!

RE: Antitrust
By Tony Swash on 12/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: Antitrust
By MechanicalTechie on 12/7/2011 6:05:34 PM , Rating: 1
Your such an iTool... you simply just don't get it. Do you..

'I find they are usually best of class in terms of design, functionality and usability'... haha and you call me the pussy? I bet you would by a car because of the colour.. or because it's cool... and are you serioulsy suggesting Apple has the best hardware?? please, please explain that to me!!

So you think Apple having to approve everything and having the final say on how you can to use something that you BOUGHT is not restrictive?

And don't give me the crap... "but its to ensure its functioning at its best... or doesn’t negatively affect the end user" give me a break if i buy it i want to total control of it.. not rent the damn thing. Explain why people had to jail break it then ?!?!

Why don't you ask the Top record labels what they think about Apple taking a large portion of their income? Does Apple reinvest back into the music industry to find more talent... well...!!!!

Explain how its helping journalism?

Its just soooooo pathetic that your totally devoted to a company... thats all it is!! You can bitch about iPhobes.. but look in the mirror dude... your a disgrace... a marketers dream and a total clone!!

And just for the record i don't own an Android!

RE: Antitrust
By borismkv on 12/8/2011 1:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
HA! Apple Best in class. That's a new one. Apple has completely abandoned the business environment. OS X Server is a pile of garbage. It's useless and over-priced. Much like the majority of Apple's products.

As for MS vs. Apple in the 90s, Apple's interface was just as ugly, if not uglier. The only thing that differentiated them was the case. Their computers were slow, they crashed just as much or more than Windows did, and they weren't compatible with anything.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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