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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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RE: Antitrust
By Tony Swash on 12/6/2011 6:57:15 PM , Rating: -1
I was pissed off and confused during Microsofts seeming total domination of all things computer back in the 1990s. The reasons were

a) Microsoft's stuff was just awful, ugly, old fashioned crap and I couldn't believe that so many people used it and thought it was somehow normal.

b) I was forced to use Windows/Office as was almost everyone who worked in large organisation

c) I watched in frustration as Microsoft's crap disempowered people, made them feel stupid and clumsy around computers when in fact it was the software from MS that was stupid and clumsy

d) for a while it looked like Apple might go bust and that would mean no escape from the MS shit

So for a while I ranted about MS and I thought that somehow everybody had been fooled and had made some terrible blunder, maybe everyone was just stupid?

But then two things happened:

First I realised that MS had won for real reasons not by tricks or user stupidity. MS had out smarted everyone, that they knew their business better than anyone even if their products were second class.

And secondly and most importantly Apple survived which meant I would always be able (outside of the work environment) to escape the clutches of MS because there was alternative. Little did I know that Apple was not just going to survive but to come back and take MS to cleaners and trounce them. Thats was just delicious icing on the cake.

So my message to iPhobes is stop whining like babies, Apple is now the biggest baddest game around and you probably hate it but so what? Nobody forces you to use Apple kit (yet). Apple survived and now prospers better than anyone in the PC world and has entered and disrupted several entirely new markets by producing the best and most loved products around. Consumers literally go mad for Apple stuff. Get over it, look away, stop being pussies and crying for the government to come and save you.

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.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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