EC starts another Apple probe

Michael Carroll
07 Dec 2011

Apple is staring down the barrel of a second European Commission antitrust probe in as many months.

The handset vendor is named alongside five major publishers in an investigation into the legality of e-book deals, amid concerns the agreements affect sales of the content. The EC is concerned that any impact on sales is a breach of anti-cartel and other laws covering restrictions on free trade.

Agreements between e-book sales agencies and the five publishers - Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck – are also being scrutinized.

Last month the EC began investigating whether a raft of patent litigation between Apple and Samsung breaches antitrust rules by covering intellectual property considered essential to the operation of a mobile phone. Local laws require such essential patents to be licensed to others on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory.

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