Back in late August, Apple and four other major publishers: Apple, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck decided to offer retailers to sell e-books at a discount for two years. The European Commission today announced that it has accepted legally binding commitments from the publishers for sale of e-books.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said: “While each separate publisher and each retailer of e-books are free to choose the type of business relationship they prefer, any form of collusion to restrict or eliminate competition is simply unacceptable. The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books”.
The Commission centered on the model that companies have to employ now on by switching to a new agency model which included an “unusual retail price Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause.” The Commission explain the clause as contracting retailer/agent is entitled “to apply any lower retail price offered for a particular e-book by another retailer.”