Amazon.com, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMZN) looks set to get a victory on an issue related to the pricing of its e-books in the European Union, after competition regulators in the EU prepare to end an anti-trust probe into e-book prices, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources.
The report said that the EU had decided to accept an offer by Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) and four publishers to ease price restrictions on Amazon.
This is good news for the online retailer in its attempts to sell e-books at a cheaper price ran its rivals. Digital books are a rapidly growing segment and without the costs of publishing associated with it, it makes books more affordable to readers.
"Faced with years of court battles and uncertainty I can understand why some of these guys decided to fold their cards and take the whipping," said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, an eBook publisher and distributor that works with Apple, told Reuters.
A spokesman at the EU Commission said its investigation was not yet finished, while Amazon and Apple declined to comment Reuters said.
Companies like Apple and some publishers entered into deals with retailers which prevented some other publishers from selling books at price cheaper than Apple.
"The agreements, which critics say prevent Amazon and other retailers from undercutting Apple's charges, sparked an investigation by the European Commission in December last year," Reuters said.
According to the Reuters report, "The EU antitrust authority, which in September asked for feedback from rivals and consumers about the proposal, has not asked for more concessions, said one of sources.
"The Commission is likely to accept the offer and announce its decision next month," the source said on Tuesday.