Apple, publishers offer EU e-book antitrust settlement

“Apple Inc and four major publishers have offered to let retailers such as Amazon sell e-books at a discount, in a bid to end an EU antitrust investigation, the European Commission said on Wednesday,” Foo Yun Chee reports for Reuters.

“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,” Chee reports. “Apple and the publishers, with the exception of Penguin, have offered to settle with the Commission, which began its inquiry last December.”

Chee reports, “‘For 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 consideration… The 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.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Judge rubber-stamps U.S. e-books settlement – September 6, 2012
Apple, four publishers offer e-books antitrust concessions, says source – August 31, 2012
Apple bashes Amazon, calls U.S. DOJ settlement proposal ‘fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented’ – August 16, 2012
U.S. antitrust settlement with e-book publishers should be approved, feds say – August 4, 2012
U.S. Justice Department slams Apple, refuses to modify e-book settlement – July 23, 2012
U.S. senator Schumer: Myopic DOJ needs to drop Apple e-books suit – July 18, 2012
Apple’s U.S. e-books antitrust case set for 2013 trial – June 24, 2012
U.S. government complains, claims Apple trying to rush e-books antitrust case – June 21, 2012
Barnes & Noble blasts U.S. DOJ e-book settlement proposal – June 7, 2012
Apple: U.S. government’s e-book antitrust lawsuit ‘is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law’ – May 24, 2012
Federal Judge rejects Apple and publishers’ attempt to dismiss civil case alleging e-book price-fixing – May 15, 2012
Court documents reveal Steve Jobs email pushing e-book agency model; 17 more states join class action suit – May 15, 2012
Apple vs. Amazon: Who’s really fixing eBook prices? – April 17, 2012
Apple: U.S. DOJ’s accusation of collusion against iBookstore is simply not true – April 12, 2012
Apple not likely to be a loser in legal fight over eBooks – April 12, 2012
16 U.S. states join DOJ’s eBook antitrust action against Apple, publishers – April 12, 2012
Australian gov’t considers suing Apple, five major publishers over eBook pricing – April 12, 2012
DOJ’s panties in a bunch over Apple and eBooks, but what about Amazon? – April 12, 2012
Antitrust experts: Apple likely to beat U.S. DOJ, win its eBook lawsuit – April 12, 2012
Why the market shrugged off the Apple antitrust suit – April 11, 2012
What’s wrong with the U.S. DOJ? – April 11, 2012
Macmillan CEO blasts U.S. DOJ; gov’t on verge of killing real competition for appearance of competition – April 11, 2012
U.S. DOJ hits Apple, major publishers with antitrust lawsuit, alleges collusion on eBook prices – April 11, 2012
U.S. DOJ may sue Apple over ebook price-fixing as early as today, sources say – April 11, 2012


  1. “The 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.”

    This is **EXACTLY** why Apple is embroiled in this mess.

    This interpretation of the “most favored nation” (actually “best customer”) clause is 100% wrong. Under the clause Apple DOES NOT SET *ANY* PRICES!!! The PUBLISHERS set the price 100% of the time. The clause simply requires that Apple be allowed to sell to its customers at the lowest price authorized by the publisher to any seller other than Apple. This forces the publisher to allow Apple to sell the e-books at the lowest price available anywhere.

    The real bottom line of this clause is that the publisher cannot allow Amazon or B&N to sell the book at $0.99 and then require Apple to sell the book at $9.99. Apple gets to sell it at $0.99 too. Then Apple gets a flat rate 30% of that $0.99.

    Similarly if the PUBLISHER ALLOWS Amazon or whoever to give the book away for free then the publisher must allow Apple to give the book away for free too. (And thus Apple gets nothing for its 30%.)

    In no case does Apple have the authority to set the price or force the publishers to not allow other distributors to lower their prices.

    It’s stupid, bad and grossly inaccurate interpretations of the contract clauses that has gotten Apple mixed up in this mess.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.