- Apple Inc and
four major publishers have offered to let retailers such as Amazon.Com
Inc sell e-books at a discount, in a bid to end an EU antitrust
investigation, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
EU regulators have been
investigating Apple's e-book pricing deals with Simon & Schuster,
News Corp unit HarperCollins, French group Lagardere SCA's Hachette
Livre, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in germany
, and Pearson Plc's Penguin group.
and the publishers, with the exception of Penguin, have offered to
settle with the Commission, which began its inquiry last December.
a period of two years, the four publishers 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 said in its Official Journal, detailing the offer under
Reuters reported the proposal on August 31.
Commission said the publishers and Apple also offered to suspend
"most-favoured nation" contracts for five years. Such clauses barred
publishers from deals with rival retailers to sell e-books at prices
lower than those set by Apple.
EU watchdog said third parties have a month to provide feedback on the
proposals. If the response is positive, the Commission will end its
HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette reached a settlement with the U.S. government in April with similar proposals.
to analysts at UBS, e-books account for about 30 percent of the U.S.
book market and 20 percent of sales in Britain, but are still negligible