The WSJ reports:
European Union antitrust regulators on Thursday said they welcomed a move by Amazon.com Inc. to end exclusivity obligations for the supply and distribution of audiobooks between the e-commerce giant and Apple Inc.
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 agreement between the two companies, which was struck Jan. 5 2017, will improve competition in downloadable audiobook distribution in Europe, the EU said.
The Audible-Apple deal was struck in 2008, before Amazon bought the audiobook company. It gave the smaller company a monopoly which, frankly, reduced competition in the audiobook market.
Regulators started investigating this deal in November 2015 in response to a complaint filed by German book publishers earlier that year. At that time physical audiobooks still accounted for 80% of the German market, so Audible’s monopoly didn’t amount to much – in Germany, that is. In global terms, it seriously limited competition.
In the long run we’re going to see more competition as Audible’s competitors, including Author’s Republic, secure deals with Apple.
image by kassy.miller