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Bundeskartellamt opens proceedings against Audible/Amazon and Apple

Date of issue: 16.11.2015

The Bundeskartellamt has initiated administrative proceedings against the Amazon subsidiary and Apple Computer Inc. The companies have a long-term agreement on the purchase of audiobooks by Apple from Audible for sale in Apple's download shop iTunes Store.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt stated: "Both companies hold a strong position in the market for digital audiobooks in Germany. We therefore see ourselves obliged to examine more closely the agreement between these two competitors. The audiobook publishers need to have sufficient alternative channels for the sale of their digital audiobooks. The proceedings were initiated following a complaint by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) which objects to various practices used by Audible, including its exclusive supply of audiobooks to Apple's iTunes Store. The Bundeskartellamt is in close contact with the European Commission, which has also received the complaint."

Audible is a leading supplier of audiobooks in Germany and specialises in audiobook downloads which can be accessed both from as well as from the Amazon trading platform. In addition, Audible is one of the largest producers of audiobooks in Germany and Europe. With its iTunes Store Apple operates one of the largest digital media trading platforms which in addition to music, videos and apps offers eBooks and audiobooks for download.

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