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EU and publishers in ebooks deal

The European Union's competition watchdog has accepted proposals by four publishers and Apple to end agreements that set retail prices for ebooks - a practice the EU feared violated competition rules.

The decision is legally binding on Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan. The deal is also binding on Penguin.

The EU was concerned that Apple's agreements with the publishers, which let the publishers set the price at which online bookshops sold ebooks to consumers, unfairly raised the price of the content.

The publishers and Apple must end all of the contracts in question and hold off on entering into new ones.

The US is also investigating the practice and has reached a settlement with some of the publishers.

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