European publishers offices raided by EC inspectors over price fixing

Extraordinary story happening in Europe right now. According to various reports a number of European publishers have had their offices raided by inspectors from the European Commission investigating alleged price-fixing of digital books. In some cases laptops and smartphones of senior executives have been seized.

The AFP reported the following quote from Amelia Torres, spokeswoman for Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia: "The competition services Tuesday conducted inspections in publishing houses in several European Union countries due to suspicion of anti-competition practices in the pricing of e-books. We are not naming the publishing houses nor the countries because we are just at the beginning of the inquiry. We are not accusing anyone and we do not have any proof."

Several French publishing houses, including Albin Michel, Hachette, Flammarion and Gallimard, received visits Tuesday from officials of the European Commission and the competition services, the high-tech computer website 01net.com reported, citing the head of Albin Michel, Francis Esmenard.

Naturally fingers are being pointed at Amazon.

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