Apple, publishers settle EU e-book antitrust investigation

Apple and four major publishers have agreed to settle an EU antitrust investigation, Reuters reports, by letting retailers sell e-books at a discount in Europe. For two years, Apple, along with publishers Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre of France, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany, will not “restrict, limit or impede e-book retailers’ ability to set, alter or reduce retail prices for e-books and/or to offer discounts or promotions,” the European Commission reported. A settlement was first offered in April.

EU regulators had examined Apple’s e-book pricing deals, including contract clauses that disallowed publishers from selling e-books for prices lower than those set by Apple. Apple and the publishers have agreed to suspend those contracts for five years, the Commission said. Among the publishers being investigated with Apple, only Penguin has not agreed to settle with the Commission. Apple, Penguin and Macmillan continue to fight a similar legal battle in the U.S., though Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette settled with the U.S. government in April.

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