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October 10, 2012

Apple’s antitrust case with EU may be settled in couple of months

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia hopes to settle deal with Apple and four publishers soon

By CBR Staff Writer

Apple is expected to settle its antitrust case with the European Union over e-book publishing in the next two months.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he hopes to sort out an investigation into Apple and four publishers price fixing on e-books.

The commission is considering an offer by Apple and the publishers in a bid to end the EU probe.

In December last year, the commission started investigation of the case and said that it would target five publishers, Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Pearson’s Penguin and the owner of the Macmillan imprint, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck.

Earlier in September this year, the commission said it was ready to discontinue its e-book price fixing investigation against Apple and four other European pulishers after the companies agreed to allow online retailers like Amazon sell e-books at a discount for two years.

The commission said that for two years, the 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.

In April this year, Apple and other major book publishers are being sued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and 15 US states for alleged price-fixing of electronic books.

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Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster have already settled the dispute with the department.

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