Penguin won’t “restrict, limit or impede” e-book retailers’ discounts or their ability to “set, alter or reduce retail prices for e-books” for two years, according to details of the proposed changes as published in the EU’s Official Journal today. Apple, the world’s biggest technology company, and four publishers previously offered similar remedies to allay European concerns.
Penguin has confirmed the news today, saying in a statement that "subject to the market test currently under way, it has reached an agreement with the European Commission to settle its investigation".
But in spite of the settlement Penguin continues to pretend that they did not conspire with Apple and 4 other publishers to control ebook prices. Later in the statement Penguin indicated that: "Penguin's position that it has done nothing wrong remains unchanged and the company continues to believe that the agency pricing model operates in the best interests of consumers and authors. While we disagree with some elements of the commission's analysis, we are settling as a procedural matter to clear the decks in anticipation of our proposed merger with Random House."
Penguin had already settled with the DOJ here in the US, but they were not part of the settlement agreement that Apple and the other 4 publishers (Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre, and Holtzbrinck) negotiated with the EU. Penguin's absence was a little odd at the time considering that they had settled with the DOJ only the week before.