Marcus Pollard, Rosario Maria Rende Granata, Nov 22, 2012
As the European Commission is set to accept an offer by Apple and four book publishers to end an antitrust investigation and avoid fines, Marcus Pollard and Rosario Maria Rende Granata (Linklaters LLP) introduce us to the specifics of the EU e-books case. They explain both the background to the case and the Article 9 proposed commitments.
The antitrust investigations on both sides of the Atlantic focused into a series of agreements between five international publishers and Apple regarding the pricing of e-books. The “agency model” (whereby the publishers were to set the prices themselves, without any influence by retailers) and the MFN clauses (whereby Apple was to de facto enjoy the lowest price on the market undercutting other retailers, e.g. Amazon) adopted by those agreements were considered anticompetitive. Against the backdrop of a settlement with the DOJ, four of the publishers and Apple have offered to the European Commission similar commitments as agreed in the US. The article particularly analyses the EU regulator’s choice of taking an Article 9 decision in this case as well as the policy conclusions to be drawn by such choice.
Interested in viewing how the authors put the EU e-books investigation in context? Check out this month’s CPI Europe column!