Feeds

Apple and publisher pals hold up US and EU watchdogs

Firms wriggle over ebook price-fixing probe settlement

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Apple and two major publishing houses are holding out on settling the ebook price-fixing investigations from the US and Europe.

While Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group are all keen to reach an agreement with regulators in the US and EU, Penguin, Macmillan and Apple are all reluctant to shake hands on the terms sought, people familiar with the matter let slip to the Wall Street Journal.

If the US Department of Justice regulators and officials from the EU's antitrust division can't reach a deal with the companies – or if they're not happy with just getting a few firms to sign on – it's likely that the current probes will turn into official investigations, or even antitrust lawsuits.

Apple and the five publishers are in trouble over allegations that they decided in concert to fix the price of ebooks by signing contracts that moved the ebook market into an agency pricing model - where publishers set the price and take a 30 per cent cut - and added so-called favourite nation clauses, thus preventing the publishers from selling more cheaply to anyone else.

All the companies face massive fines and damages in civil lawsuits if the regulators find the lot of them guilty.

Last month, European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia said that the possibility of a settlement was only open if publishers were willing to address all of the regulators' objections.

The settlements would likely force Apple and the book-houses to abandon their contracts and return to the wholesale pricing model, where sellers pay publishers a set cost and are then free to price the book however they see fit.

Apple and the publishers didn't like that model for ebooks because Amazon was selling books cheaply or even at a loss in order to promote sales of its Kindle ereaders. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.