The FCO through its press release dated November 16, 2015 has informed that it has opened an administrative proceeding against Audible (a subsidiary of Amazon) and Apple concerning an exclusive distribution agreement between Apple’s iTunes Store and Audible.
The investigation is based on a long-term distribution agreement on the purchase of audiobooks by Audible for sale in Apple’s iTunes. Audible is the leading supplier of audiobooks in Germany and specialises in audiobook downloads which can be accessed both from Audible.de as well as from the Amazon trading platform. Further, Audible is recognised as one of the largest producers of audiobooks in Germany and Europe. Through iTunes, Apple operates the largest digital media distribution platform which offers
music, videos, apps, eBooks and audiobooks for download.
According to Mr. Andreas Mundt (President- FCO), both the companies hold a strong position for digital audiobooks in Germany. The audiobook publishers need to have sufficient alternative channels for the sale of their digital audiobooks.
The proceedings have been initiated following a complaint by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association regarding the practices of Audible, including its exclusive supply of Audiobooks to iTunes.