After an anti-trust lawsuit was launched by the European Union earlier this year to check whether or not Apple’s e-book pricing is anti-competitive, Apple and four publishers are ready to accept an offer from the EU to end the probe.
The acceptance of the offer hands Amazon a big victory in the battle for e-book pricing in Europe as it opens the door for Amazon to continue to sell online books cheaper than its rivals.
When Apple struck deals with publishers for the iBookstore, Apple added “most favored nation” statuses in contracts which meant that publishers could only sell their books through the iBookstore if they kept the price the same at other retailers. The EU were investigating whether those “most favored nation” contracts were illegal, and Apple eventually caved and too the deal.
Apple and the four publishers involved in the deal with the EU have agreed to let retailers set their own prices and discounts for the next two years, and they’ve also agreed to suspend “most favored nation” contracts for the next five years.
The four publishers involved in the deal are Simon & Schuster, Harpercollins, Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, and Macmillian. Pearson Pic’s Penguin group was also involved in the investigation but they did not accept the offer.