Penguin agrees to end Apple ebook deal to appease the European Commission

iBooks Bookshelf on iPad

The EC announced yesterday that it has reached an agreement with book publisher Penguin, ending its antitrust probe into the company. As part of the settlement, the New York-based firm has agreed to terminate its iBooks deal with Apple.

Penguin is one of 5 major publishers that allegedly conspired with Apple to lower ebook prices, sparking antitrust investigations in both the US and Europe. But it looks like this resolution will put an end to the European Commission’s quest…

ITWorld reports:

“Penguin has agreed to terminate its e-book agreement with Apple and to allow Amazon to set its own prices for electronic books in a settlement of a European Union antitrust case.

The European Commission accepted the deal with Penguin on Thursday after more than a year of investigations into allegations of cartel price fixing in the e-book market.”

Penguin was the last book publisher to settle in Europe, as Apple and the four other companies reached agreements back in December. Interestingly enough, it was also the last book publisher to reach a deal with the government here in the US.

But Apple continues the fight Stateside. As the only defendant left in the DoJ’s lawsuit, it alone had to face the ‘Guilty’ verdict handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote—a decision that could end up costing the iPad-maker $500 million.

Obviously, Apple will appeal the decision. But experts say that because of the scope of Judge Cote’s ruling, there’s little chance of it being overturned. The original allegations of ebook price fixing were first levied against Apple in the spring of 2012.