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Amazon wins a victory in battle for cheap e-books


Online retail giant Amazon won an important victory today in its battle for the right to set the price of e-books in Europe, which could see prices fall.

Online rival Apple and four publishing giants have given a commitment to the European Union that they will relax price restrictions on Amazon and other retailers. The agreement means Amazon can now sell e-books more cheaply if it wishes.

The EU has now ended its competition investigation into Apple and the four publishers – Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Livre and Macmillan. They had faced claims that they were keeping the price of e-books artificially high.

Joaquin Almunia, the EU's Competition Commissioner, said: "While each separate publisher and each retailer of e-books are free to choose the type of business relationship they prefer, any form of collusion to restrict or eliminate competition is simply unacceptable."

Amazon still dominates the e-book market.