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Apple & Publishers May Be Considering Settlement In EU Antitrust Case

In a move to end an EU antitrust investigation, Apple and four publishers have reportedly agreed to let retailers including Amazon sell eBooks at lower prices for two years.

Reuters has the scoop: “The four publishers are Simon & Schuster, News Corp unit HarperCollins, French group Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany. The publishers have agreed deals with Apple under which online versions of their books sell for set prices on Apple’s iTunes, with Apple taking 30 percent of the proceeds. The deals specified that other retailers, such as Amazon, could not sell the e-books at a lower price.”

Last December, EU antitrust authorities began investigating Apple’s deals with major publishers suspecting that the companies were conspiring to fix the prices of eBooks.

In the United States, Apple has also been under investigation for alleged eBook pricing collusion. A number of the publishers involved in the suit have agreed to settle including Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster who will pay $69 million to consumers. But Apple has refused to a settlement, demanding a trial.

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