German government probes Apple's audiobook deal with Amazon

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
Germany's Federal Cartel Office is investigating the details of Apple's deal for purchasing audiobooks from Amazon, given the companies' market leading positions, a report said on Monday.




Apple has a long-term agreement to buy audiobooks from Amazon's Audible service, which it then offers via the iTunes Store, the FCO pointed out in a statement obtained by Reuters. The agency didn't immediately suggest any wrongdoing, but noted that Apple and Amazon have a "strong position" in the German digital audiobook market.

"Therefore, we feel compelled to examine the agreement between these two competitors in the audiobooks in more detail," said FCO head Andreas Mundt.

European competition monitors have been scrutinizing a number of major American tech companies in the past few years, including Apple. In August, for instance, Apple was cleared of concerns that it might be colluding with record labels to undermine free music streaming services.

Notably, Apple has previously been accused of colluding with book publishers against Amazon in the realm of e-books. In the U.S. the matter has reached the Supreme Court, with Apple hoping to avoid paying a $450 million settlement.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    seems like amazon has the audio book market cornered between audible and this deal. i'm not even aware of an alternative path to getting an audio book (aside from CDs and tapes which are rapidly disappearing)
  • Reply 2 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,012member
    FWIW Amazon looks to be the primary interest.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    By the way, why in the screaming hell has Samsung not yet paid off that reduced fine from their courtroom loss yet? Will it ever happen?
  • Reply 4 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,012member
    By the way, why in the screaming hell has Samsung not yet paid off that reduced fine from their courtroom loss yet? Will it ever happen?
    About a month ago one of the appeals courts said Koh was correct and payment had to be made within 7 days, even tho some of the patent claims that the infringement damages were based on were likely invalid. Not sure why but another appeals court ruling then put that on hold yet again.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by schlack View Post



    I'm not even aware of an alternative path to getting an audio book.

     

    Answer:  The "Overdrive" app.  It lets you borrow audio books from your local library for free.  It's great; I've been using it heavily for three years.

  • Reply 6 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,369member
    This is more EU BS. Like the tax questions, the EU targets USA companies. So far, no large EU based companies are being investigated over the tax questions, even though they take advantage of those rules as well. We'll see the same thing here. Bertelsmann is the worlds largest publisher, and so far, in spite the fact that they are heavily involved in these deals, I've not yet seen any announcement of a link to them.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    melgross wrote: »
    This is more EU BS. Like the tax questions, the EU targets USA companies. So far, no large EU based companies are being investigated over the tax questions, even though they take advantage of those rules as well. We'll see the same thing here. Bertelsmann is the worlds largest publisher, and so far, in spite the fact that they are heavily involved in these deals, I've not yet seen any announcement of a link to them.

    Yes, just EU BS even though it carries no pre ordained determination of guilt, is judged by a panel of experts and is aimed at a negotiated settlement. Just like the US DOJ process...oh wait...
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Originally Posted by Frac View Post

    Yes, just EU BS even though it carries no pre ordained determination of guilt, is judged by a panel of experts and is aimed at a negotiated settlement.



    Except any sane person comprehends that no wrong was done.

  • Reply 9 of 19
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frac View Post





    Yes, just EU BS even though it carries no pre ordained determination of guilt, is judged by a panel of experts and is aimed at a negotiated settlement. Just like the US DOJ process...oh wait...

     

    Except the US DOJ isn't targeting EU company's to get huge settlements out of them.   Let alone targeting with zero proof of any wrong doing.  Just assuming something, anything.

  • Reply 10 of 19
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,069member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    FWIW Amazon looks to be the primary interest.

    That is correct. The true concern is not the market dominating position of Amazon itself either, it is Amazon's policy to dictate the selling prices. Publishers have no mean to set prices for their products, as Audbile owns the market, and Apple as the next biggest reseller only deals with Audible.

    What they don't say is if anybody else has ever approached Apple and was rejected. I have heard nothing like that. And unless this is the case, there is no foul play involved.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    croprcropr Posts: 900member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    This is more EU BS. Like the tax questions, the EU targets USA companies. So far, no large EU based companies are being investigated over the tax questions, even though they take advantage of those rules as well. We'll see the same thing here. Bertelsmann is the worlds largest publisher, and so far, in spite the fact that they are heavily involved in these deals, I've not yet seen any announcement of a link to them.

     

    European companies are being investigated.  Only it is not published in the American press if they are.

  • Reply 12 of 19
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Yes, just EU BS even though it carries no pre ordained determination of guilt, is judged by a panel of experts and is aimed at a negotiated settlement.


    Except any sane person comprehends that no wrong was done.

    We call it transparent accountability - apparently :\
  • Reply 13 of 19
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    jbdragon wrote: »
    frac wrote: »
    Yes, just EU BS even though it carries no pre ordained determination of guilt, is judged by a panel of experts and is aimed at a negotiated settlement. Just like the US DOJ process...oh wait...

    Except the US DOJ isn't targeting EU company's to get huge settlements out of them.   Let alone targeting with zero proof of any wrong doing.  Just assuming something, anything.

    Except that's not how it works at all. Apple has been the subject of three such 'investigations' to my recollection and no complaint was upheld. Think of it as a fact finding mission under oath. 'Targeting' US firms? Not really. They do go after market leaders and thus Amazon and Apple qualify. As did the record labels, steel producers, financial services, the power cartels, banks and so on, few of whom were US companies. They respond to complaints by competitors who think they have identified some EU directive that identifies unfair practices by the 900ib gorilla in the room. Not so different to any major jurisdiction around the world.
    Microsoft by comparison, tried refusal to engage, vague threats, dissembling, false promises, delay tactics and paid the price - nearly doubled. They could have made some minor changes in IE early on and escaped their billion dollar fine.
    And you can be sure that if a foreign company had a market leading monopoly in the US, they too would be targeted.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    TS
    No argument there. I wasn't aware I inferred otherwise.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Originally Posted by Frac View Post

    TS

    No argument there. I wasn't aware I inferred otherwise.

     

    Oh, apologies, then; I came in late and misunderstood.

  • Reply 16 of 19

    The EU primarily tries to close tax loopholes at the moment. Investigations go into various directions - officials are looking into tax policies of governments in Luxemburg, Ireland and others as well as tax behavior of companies like Amazon, Apple who earn profits in a large market like France but pay taxes on those earnings in a nearly tax free country like Luxemburg. Ikea (not quite a US company btw ...) for instance pays 48,000 Euros taxes on 2 Billion profits. A hardly understandable ratio and a slap in the face of anyone doing business, paying taxes and not having these tax opportunities that only large international companies have. The friendly "Swedish" furniture company is tax-wise a dutch company having moved to NL to avoid paying regular taxes in their home country. 

     

    It is not a witch hunt of US companies by the EU. The US government also sits at the negotiating table and has a high interest in that matter since Apple and other companies leave their large amounts of money in tax free regions instead of bringing profits to their parent company in the US.

     

    It is understandable that corporations seek to reduce their amount of taxes, but they also should pay taxes like the rest of us.  

  • Reply 17 of 19
    Originally Posted by Readme View Post

    The EU primarily tries to close tax loopholes at the moment.

     

    Irony’s lost on them, it seems.

     

    Ikea (not quite a US company btw ...) for instance pays 48,000 Euros taxes on 2 Billion profits. A hardly understandable ratio and a slap in the face of anyone doing business...


     

    Why? Never mind that you don’t pay tax on profit, who are you–or any other individual–to say how much taxation is acceptable? Shouldn’t the effort be to lower all taxes to the same percentage, not raise them?

     

    It is understandable that corporations seek to reduce their amount of taxes, but they also should pay taxes like the rest of us.  


     

    Well, as you yourself have said, they already DO. So the answer isn’t to raise them.

  • Reply 18 of 19

    You exactly mentioned the point: due to tax loopholes there is no equal (or fair) taxation as the Ikea case shows. It is more of a political issue, governments need to adjust to equal corporate tax rates within this common market.

  • Reply 19 of 19
    Originally Posted by Readme View Post

    It is more of a political issue, governments need to adjust to equal corporate tax rates within this common market.



    I’m in favor of a universal, singular corporate tax rate. 

Sign In or Register to comment.