EU regulators accept Penguin's pledge to scrap Apple ebook deals

July 27
10:01 AM 2013

The European Commission agreed to the promise of British media group Pearson's Penguin unit that it will end its ebook contracts with Apple. The deal breached European laws on competition. Penguin was embroiled in an antitrust case because of Apple's "most-favored nation" contract clause, which essentially increased ebook prices. The clause prevented rival retailers from selling ebooks at a cheaper rate rather than that prescribed by Apple.

In April, Penguin proposed to end its "most-favored nation" contract for a period of five years. The European regulator only accepted to the publisher's pledge this Thursday. Like other publishers who also made similar concessions last year, Penguin also said that it would give its retailers the freedom to set prices or give discounts.

In a statement, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that Penguin's move would improve the ebook market. "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," he added.   

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