Audible's iTunes exclusivity ends following antitrust pushback in Europe

In one of the few concessions from major tech companies to the European Union, both Amazon and Apple have agreed to end its exclusivity obligations in the supply and selling of audiobooks through Audible.

Fortunately, in this current case it seems that Apple has managed to avoid a similar scrape by ending its relationship with Amazon for audiobooks - causing the European Union competition authority to say that it, "welcomes an agreement to end all exclusivity obligations concerning audiobook supply and distribution between Amazon's subsidiary Audible and Apple".

Apple and Amazon have agreed to end the exclusivity deal that gave Audible sole access to the iBooks store.

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The agreement between Apple and Amazon and its Audible service to remove the exclusivity obligations allows Audible to supply its downloadable audiobooks to third-party platforms beyond iTunes, the European Commission said Thursday.

A subsidiary of Amazon since 2008, Audible is the seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content. Apple's iTunes store, integrated in Apple devices, allows customers to purchase and download content, including audiobooks. To cut any eventual action from the Commission Apple and Amazon ended the agreement. Cartel office head Andreas Mundt says the termination of the agreem.

The decision was agreed earlier this month following talks between the EC and the German Federal Cartel Office, largely in part due to the country's publishers being the ones to bring the case to the EC. "By deleting the exclusive agreement, Apple can now use other sources of reference for digital audio books". Back in 2015, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association began its complaint by saying that Apple and Amazon were "abusing their dominant market position" with the audiobook deal. "A greater supply diversity and lower prices for consumers are made possible".

  • Toni Ryan