Canada's Competition Bureau reaches deal with Apple, publishers

The Apple Inc. store is seen on the day of the new iPhone 7 smartphone launch in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s business competition watchdog said on Friday it had reached an agreement with Apple Inc and three major e-book publishers that will allow retailers to offer discounts to customers.

The Competition Bureau’s investigation found that an arrangement between the publishers and Apple led to higher prices for Canadians.

The watchdog said it had entered into consent agreements with Apple, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan and CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster that will let other retailers, including and Kobo, give discounts on e-books by those publishers.

The Competition Bureau, however, was unable to reach an agreement with a fourth publisher involved, News Corp’s HarperCollins, and filed an application to order it to halt its alleged anti-competitive practices.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year declined to hear Apple’s challenge to a court decision that it conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr, editing by G Crosse