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Apple faces EU investigation into allegations of eBook price fixing

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By John Glenday, Reporter

December 7, 2011 | 1 min read

Apple is facing allegations of collusion with five rival publishers; Penguin, Harper Collins, Hatchette, Simon & Schuster and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck in order to fix the price of e-books.

It has prompted the EU to investigate whether the technology firm has been engaged in “illegal agreements and practices” to limit competition.

The investigation is focussed on the so called “agency model” employed by the accused, which allows them to set the price for digital books with the retailer receiving an agency commission.

Ostensibly this is to counter the power which retailers, such as Amazon, which can sell such books for whatever price it wants.

In a statement the European Commission said that the five “possibly with the help of Apple, engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in the European Economic Area, in breach of EU antitrust rules".

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