German antitrust authorities are investigating Amazon and Apple for an agreement about selling audiobooks, targeting two companies that usually find themselves on opposing sides of competition battles.
Amazon, through its subsidiary Audible, is the exclusive provider of audiobooks to Apple's iTunes store in Germany. Together the two companies account for about 90 per cent of audiobooks sold in the country, according to industry estimates.
"Both companies hold a strong position in the market for digital audiobooks in Germany," said Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office. "We therefore see ourselves obliged to examine more closely the agreement between these two competitors."
The Federal Cartel Office opened the investigation after receiving a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, which alleged Apple and Amazon were "on the way to establishing a monopoly".