European antitrust officials launched a probe on Tuesday to determine whether iPad maker Apple and five international publishers engaged in anti-competitive deals in the sale of e-books.
The European Commission will look at deals between the US gadget giant and US publishing powerhouses Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins, Britain’s Penguin, France’s Hachette Livre and Germany’sVerlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck.
“The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the EU,” it said in a statement.
The probe will also examine the character and terms of agreements between the five publishing houses and retailers for the sale of e-books.
“The Commission has concerns that these practices may breach EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,” the statement said.