EU antitrust chief hopes to settle Apple case soon

BRUSSELS, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Apple Inc's antitrust case withthe European Union over e-book publishing could be settled in acouple of months, European Competition Commissioner JoaquinAlmunia said on Tuesday.

The EU's antitrust chief said he hoped to resolve soon aninvestigation into Apple and four publishers over deals settinge-book prices.

"Hopefully in the coming couple of months, we will reach asettlement," Almunia told a British Chamber of Commerceconference.

The European Commission is now market-testing an offer byApple and the publishers in a bid to end the EU probe. The fourare CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster, News Corp unitHarperCollins, French group Lagardere SCA's HachetteLivre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which ownsMacmillan in Germany.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, Writing by Ethan Bilby; Editing byGerald E. McCormick)

((ethan.bilby@thomsonreuters.com)(+32 2287 6812)(ReutersMessaging: ethan.bilby.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: APPLE EU/