Amazon offers to settle EU probe over e-books contracts Inc. is poised to settle a European Union probe into its e-book deals with publishers by changing controversial clauses, according to regulators. Amazon won’t enforce clauses that required publishers to offer it terms as good as or better than those they sign with other e-book distributors and will avoid them in future contracts, the European Commission said in a e-mailed statement that outlined details of the company’s offer to settle the investigation. The pledge would last five years and would allow publishers end contracts that link e-book discounts on Amazon to e-book prices on other online stores. The EU is asking publishers to give feedback in the next month before it can move toward closing the case without levying fines or declaring that the company breached antitrust rules. Companies that break commitments offered to the EU can be fined as much as 10 per cent of global revenue. The e-books probe has been a distraction for Amazon as it fights a higher-profile case over its tax arrangements with Luxembourg - one of a series of EU probes targeting the fiscal arrangements of US tech giants. Apple Inc. was ordered to pay US$14 billion in back taxes when the EU ruled against its tax deal with Ireland. While Amazon said it welcomed the agreement with the EU, it said it disagreed with regulators’ view that e-books don’t compete directly with print books and other forms of media. (Stephanie Bodoni and Aoife White/ Bloomberg)

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