Amazon and Apple in German investigation over audiobooks

Amazon and Apple in German investigation over audiobooks

German antitrust authorities are investigating Amazon and Apple concerning their audiobook sales agreements, the Financial Times has reported.

Amazon, through its subsidiary Audible, is the exclusive provider of audiobooks to Apple’s German iTunes store. Together, the two companies account for about 90% of audiobooks sold in the country, according to industry estimates.

"Both companies hold a strong position in the market for digital audiobooks in Germany," said Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office. "We therefore see ourselves obliged to examine more closely the agreement between these two competitors."

The German Publishers and Booksellers Association alleged Apple and Amazon were "on the way to establishing a monopoly" and "abusing" their position in the market in a complaint to the Federal Cartel Office in September.

The complaint has also been sent to the European Commission, which is also investigating separate allegations into Amazon's e-book distribution.

In June last year, German trade association Börsenverein officially lodged a complaint against Amazon’s practices with the German competition authorities, which attracted the attention of the EU Commission last July.