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Audible, Apple Drop Audiobook Exclusivity Agreement.

Audible has been the only provider of audiobooks to iTunes since 2003, but now, the company's partnership is coming to an end. Following scrutiny from European regulators, Apple will no longer exclusively distribute Audible audiobooks according to (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-amazon-com-apple-antitrust-idUSKBN1531EG) Reuters.

In a (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-97_en.htm) statement , European Commission officials lauded the move's impact for publishers.

"The removal of these exclusivity obligations will allow for further competition in a fast growing and innovative market and allow European consumers broader access to downloadable audiobooks." the Commission's statement said.

Audible's purchasing ties with Apple and iTunes started before it was acquired by Amazon in 2008, but the partnership earned additional attention in 2015 after a probe from German regulators. The move followed complaints from German publishers that the three companies were abusing their high profile in the audiobook marketplace.

According to Bundeskartellamt, the German regulatory office, Apple exclusively hosted Audible audiobooks and Audible would refuse to supply audiobooks to competing digital music stores. As (https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/19/audible/) TechCrunch notes, Audible and iTunes made around 90 percent of the German audiobook market at the time of the complaint.

In its (http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/SharedDocs/Meldung/EN/Pressemitteilungen/2017/19_01_2017_audible.html?nn=3591568) statement , Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt echoed the European Commission and praised the joint moves of both companies.

"With the deletion of the exclusivity agreement Apple will now have the opportunity to purchase digital audiobooks from other suppliers. This will enable a wider range of offer and lower prices for consumers," Mundt said. "After conducting intensive market investigations and due to the close cooperation with the European Commission in this case, the Bundeskartellamt was able to close these proceedings without a formal decision."

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jan 20, 2017
Words:297
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