Feeds

Apple and publisher pals hold up US and EU watchdogs

Firms wriggle over ebook price-fixing probe settlement

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
'Internet Freedom Panel' to keep web overlord ICANN out of Russian hands – new proposal
Come back with our internet! cries Republican drawing up bill
What a Mesa: Apple vows to re-use titsup GT sapphire glass plant
Commits to American manufacturing ... of secret tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.