SAN FRANCISCO – Germany has opened an anti-trust investigation against Apple and Amazon over their domination of the German digital audiobook market.
The German Federal Cartel Office announced the administrative proceedings Monday.
Amazon controls the vast majority of the audiobook market in Germany. An estimated 90% of audiobook downloads there are from either Audible.com, which Amazon owns, or the Apple iTunes store, which is exclusively supplied by Audible, according to the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.
“Both companies hold a strong position in the market for digital audiobooks in Germany. We therefore see ourselves obliged to examine more closely the agreement between these two competitors. The audiobook publishers need to have sufficient alternative channels for the sale of their digital audiobooks,” said Andreas Mundt, president of the Cartel Office, in a statement.
The investigation was begun due to a complaint by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.
Amazon is already the subject of several inquires within the European Union over its domination of the e-book and audiobook markets.
Neither Amazon nor Apple responded immediately to a request for comment Tuesday.
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