“European Union regulators ended an antitrust probe into e-book prices on Thursday, accepting an offer by Apple and four publishers to ease pricing restrictions on Amazon and other retailers,” Foo Yun Chee reports for Reuters.

“The European Commission said on Thursday the concessions from Apple and the publishers soothed concerns that their pricing deals curbed competition,” Chee reports. “‘The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books,’ EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.”

“Apple and the publishers offered to let retailers set prices or discounts for a period of two years, and also to suspend “most-favoured nation” contracts for five years,” Chee reports. “Such clauses bar publishers Simon & Schuster, News Corp. unit HarperCollins, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, the owner of German company Macmillan, from making deals with rival retailers to sell e-books more cheaply than Apple. Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, which is also under investigation, was not part of Thursday’s settlement. The Commission said Penguin had offered concessions expected to resolve the matter with the competition authorities.”

Chee reports, “HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have settled with the U.S. Department of Justice in a similar investigation but Apple, Penguin Group and Macmillan have not.”

Read more in the full article here.

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