European Union Now Investigating Book Publishers and Apple on Price Fixing

Posted Dec 6, 2011

The European Commission has launched an investigation into the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBookstore. They are checking to see whether Apple and a group of international publishers are fixing e-book prices. They are checking to see if Apple and the book publishers are violating antitrust rules. The 5 publishers include Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck.

The European Commission will be looking into the characters and terms of the agreements between the publishers and e-book retailers. The European Commission believes that the agreement between the publishers and Apple has breached antitrust rules that prohibit ?cartels and restrictive business practices.? Yes, they just compared Apple and the book publishers to cartels. Yikes.

Steve Jobs cut a deal with the five publishers shortly before the iPad press conference in January 2010. This was around the same time that Apple launched the IBookstore.