The idea was dreamed up by Steve Jobs who was proud of his handiwork and Apple denied that it ever did anything evil to its customers. The publishers have agreed deals with Jobs so that online versions of their books sell for set prices on Apple's iTunes, with Apple taking 30 percent. The deals specified that other retailers, such as Amazon, could not sell the e-books at a lower price.
Now Apple and four major publishers have offered to allow retailers such as Amazon to sell e-books at a discount for two years in a bid to end an EU antitrust investigation and stave off possible fines. The EU antitrust watchdog opened an investigation into Apple's e-book pricing deals with the publishers last December, saying these may hamper competition in Europe.
Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany are sharing the dock with Apple. Penguin group, which is also being investigated, was not mentioned among those submitting proposals.
The Commission was now sounding out opinions from the industry as to whether the concessions are sufficient.