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Cheaper ebooks may be on Amazon’s horizon after Apple compromise

CNETAnalysis: Prices for Amazon ebooks may soon take a competitive dip, according to sources familiar with an antitrust probe against Apple and four publishers taking place in Europe. The sources, speaking with Reuters, said European Union regulators will accept an offer by Apple and the publishers giving Amazon the go-ahead to sell ebooks for less than its competitors. The offer on the table would let retailers independently set prices or discounts on online books for the next two years, plus suspend “most-favored nation” contracts for five years. If approved, the EU will drop an investigation into antitrust practices that involved deals between the publishers and Apple to sell books through iTunes at exclusive discounts. The deals – between Apple and Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrink, owner of Macmillan – were only viable as long as the publishers didn’t extend those rates to other sellers, including Amazon. The end Apple and the gaggle of publishers made the proposal in September, at which time the European Commission said it would seek feedback from competing companies and consumers. One Reuters source said commissioners haven’t asked for more concessions. “The commission is likely to accept the offer and announce its decision next month,” the source said. Pearson Plc’s Penguin group is also under investigation but was not part of the September offer. TechRadar has reached out to Amazon and Apple and will update this story if and when the companies respond.

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