European Commission Opens Antitrust Probe of Apple, eBook Publishers for Price Fixing

Paul Lilly

The European Commission has launched a formal investigation and opened antitrust proceedings to determine if Apple and several international publishers colluded to fix prices of eBooks. Publishers named in the investigation include Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Verlagsgrupe Georg von Holzbrinck.

"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 the effect of restricting competition in the EU or in the EEA," the European Commission said in a statement .

According to CNN Money , the reason the European Commission is targeting Apple instead of an eBook giant like Amazon is because of a deal Steve Jobs struck with the five publishers named in the probe right before announcing the iPad and Apple's iBookstore.

The European Commission said it is also looking into so-called "agency agreements," whereby publishers are the ones who set the price of eBooks to consumers and not the retailers who actually sell them.

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