The iBook Store in the crosshairs of the European Commission

The iBook Store in the crosshairs of the European Commission

The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it is launching a procedure to investigate Apple, particularly around the iPad and its related content. Five international publishers, including the French Hachette Livre, are also concerned. Companies are suspected of seeking to restrict competition in the European e-book market.

Pierre-Yves Thienpont | The evening

The European Commission announced on Tuesday Brussels that it had opened a procedure over a possible cartel in the digital book market in Europe. Five international publishers and Apple are suspected of anti-competitive practices by the authorities. At the moment, none of the elements that motivated this investigation are known.

The publishers concerned:

Hachette Livre (Lagardre Publishing, France), Harper Collins (News Corp., United States), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., United States), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck (including Macmillan, Germany)

Anti-competitive practicess?

The question is whether these five editors and Apple "have entered into illegal agreements or have engaged in practices which have the object or effect of restricting competition". The European Commission will "look into the nature of the terms of agency contracts" between these five publishers and the retailers. The EU executive "fears that these practices will violate EU rules prohibiting anti-competitive agreements and commercial practices".

Is this survey justifiable in your opinion?