EU Reportedly in Favor of Amazon in Apple E-Book Investigation
December 13, 2012 12:22 PM
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The European Commission is expected to accept an offer from Apple and four major book publishers in the ongoing e-books investigation
This year (and last) has been littered with Apple-related lawsuits with several tech companies, but it looks like Amazon will come out on top in the EU e-book probe.
According to Reuters, the European Commission is
expected to accept an offer from Apple
and four major book publishers in the ongoing e-books investigation. The offer was to
allow Amazon and other e-tailers to sell e-books at a discount for two years, and to temporarily suspend the "most-favored nation" contract for five years. The latter means that the four book publishers involved cannot allow Apple's rival retailers sell the same books at a lower price.
Last December, Apple and book publishers
Penguin, Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany)
were under the microscope when the EU found out about their selling practices. The EU saw this as anti-competitive against the likes of Amazon, and launched an investigation.
Back in August of this year, Apple and four of the publishers (all but Penguin)
submitted the proposal to the EU that the publishers will not restrict or limit an e-book sellers' ability to set, change or reduce e-book prices for two years. They also won't interfere with an e-book retailer's choice to offer discounts
, and added the five-year suspension of the
"most-favored nation" contract.
While the investigation is technically still ongoing, rumor has it that the EU will accept the offer, which will be a nice win for Amazon. This means Amazon will be able to sell books at more competitive prices than Apple once again.
After the EU launched its investigation in December 2011, the
U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and the same five book publishers
involved in the EU case
over anticompetitive practices concerning e-book sales in April of this year. More specifically,
The book publishers were accused of partaking in an agency sales model with Apple, which meant that publishers were allowed to set the price of a book and Apple would take a 30 percent cut. In addition, the publishers could not let rivals sell the same book at a lower price.
Simon & Schuster and
Hachette Livre decided to settle the case with the U.S. DOJ.
Penguin and Macmillan have decided to fight the antitrust case.
U.S. bench trial
in the Apple e-book case will start June 3, 2012.
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RE: What is the point?
12/14/2012 5:16:41 AM
Actually, Apple and everybody else can very well be expected to know all the relevant laws of each country they do business within. If you are not willing to do this, you have to find somebody to act as a national distributor for you.
The 5 years are clearly expected by the judges to solve the problem all by itself. With 5 years of time, plenty of different methods of reading eBooks should have established even beyond Kindle and iPad, so the publisher could no longer afford to affront distributors other than Apple.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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