Apple, Amazon Face German Review Over Audio Book Delivery Deal

  • Federal Cartel Office probes agreement used for iTunes sales
  • National bookseller association complaint prompted case

Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are facing a German antitrust probe into a delivery contract for audio books sold on the iTunes platform.

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office opened a review because of the strong position Apple and Amazon’s Audible unit have on the market for digital audio books, the regulator’s president, Andreas Mundt, said Monday in an e-mailed statement. The probe was prompted by the German bookseller association Boersenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels.

U.S. technology companies face a growing list of probes by European regulators. Apple and Amazon are among those being investigated by the European Union over the use of tax loopholes, and EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is already looking into Amazon’s e-book contracts with publishers.

The German press offices of Apple and Amazon didn’t immediately reply to e-mails seeking comment.

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