European Union antitrust regulators on Thursday welcomed a move by Amazon.com to end exclusivity obligations for the supply and distribution of audiobooks between the e-commerce giant and Apple Inc.
A decision by Amazon and Apple to scrap all exclusivity obligations in the supply and distribution of audiobooks will likely boost competition, EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday.
The companies announced their decision on 5 January after talks with the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office. Such curbs had prompted a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association to both regulators, triggering an investigation by the German enforcer in November 2015.
“The European Commission welcomes an agreement to end all exclusivity obligations concerning audiobook supply and distribution between Amazon’s subsidiary Audible and Apple,” the EU competition authority said in a statement.
The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, said the exclusivity obligations required Apple to source only from Amazon’s unit Audible and also required Audible not to supply other music digital platforms besides Apple’s iTunes store.
The German cartel office also said on Thursday it had closed its investigation into Apple and Amazon. The watchdog said that there was no further reason to continue the investigation.
The probe started at the end of 2015, sparked by a complaint from the German publishers and booksellers lobby, who said Amazon and Apple were abusing their dominant market position.
The publishers and booksellers said more than 90 % of all downloads of audio books in Germany were made via the Audible or Amazon sites, or via the iTunes store, which was exclusively supplied by Audible.