Jan 19, 2017

Apple & Amazon kill exclusivity deal under European pressure

Apple and Amazon-owned Audible are doing away with an exclusivity arrangement that was under scrutiny in Europe.

  • The "obligations" held that Audible would not provide audiobooks to digital music platforms other than Apple's iTunes, and Apple wouldn't sell audiobooks from other providers, according to a regulator. The policy was in place before Amazon bought Audible.
  • A publishers association had filed a complaint with the German competition authority and European Union officials were also looking into the deal.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that it would be abandoned around the world, not just in Europe.

What regulators are saying: The European Commission says it "welcomes" the decision, and the German competition office dropped its probe into the exclusivity contracts.

Why it matters: It underscores how American tech companies face a tougher landscape in Europe, which has strong antitrust and privacy regulators, than they do at home.

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