EU antitrust regulators praise audiobooks deal from Apple, Amazon

Amazon and Apple - and numerous other major United States tech companies - have found themselves in front of the European Commission (EC) a number of times over the past few years regarding accusations of unfairly dominated various markets.

The agreement ended January 5, according to the European Commission, and Apple is now free to source audiobooks from companies other than Audible, while Audible can offer its books for sale beyond Apple's iBooks store.

Audible and Apple's iTunes store are two distributors of downloadable audiobooks to consumers.

Apple and Amazon have ended a deal that tied them into an exclusive contract for the supply and sale of audio books.

Audible will now be able to supply its downloadable audiobooks to third party platforms, that Apple can source audiobooks from alternative suppliers, and that publishers and content aggregators will be able to enter into distribution agreements directly with Apple.




Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. have abolished contractual obligations around the world that required the two companies to supply and distribute audiobooks exclusively with each other, under pressure from European Union antitrust regulators.

On Thursday, the German Federal Cartel Office said it has officially closed its investigation because "there was no further reason to continue".

"Audible and Apple have a strong position in the digital range of audio books in Germany", said Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt in a press release (in German).

The investigation dates back to November 2015, following complaints from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

Audible's purchasing ties with Apple and iTunes started before it was acquired by Amazon in 2008, but the partnership earned additional attention in 2015 after a probe from German regulators. "A greater supply diversity and lower prices for consumers are made possible".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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