Audible and Apple recently dissolved a longstanding exclusivity agreement that made Audible the sole supplier of audiobooks on iTunes.
In November 2015, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association filed a complaint with the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office over concerns that the two powerhouses were using their dominant position in the market to stifle competition.
After mulling over the issue for more than a year, the two sides on January 5 agreed to disband the partnership.
The exclusivity agreement dates back to 2003, some five years before Amazon purchased Audible for $300 million. As per the deal, Apple was required to source audiobooks exclusively from Audible and Audible was not allowed to supply its content to other digital platforms.
Audible is now the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content.
Andreas Mundt, president of the German Federal Cartel Office, said that Apple will now have the opportunity to purchase digital audiobooks from other suppliers.
The European Commission said in a press release published earlier today that it welcomes an agreement to end all exclusivity obligations regarding audiobook supply and distribution between Audible and Apple, adding that the move is likely to improve competition in the European downloadable audiobook market. Mundt echoed similar sentiments, noting that it will enable a wider range of offers and ultimately, lower prices for consumers.
Satisfied with the outcome, the German Federal Cartel Office has closed its investigation.