Summary Box: EU probes Apple, e-book publishers

THE INVESTIGATION: The European Union’s antitrust watchdog is looking into whether Apple and five major publishing companies have colluded to restrict competition in the market for e-books.

THE PLAYERS: Apple Inc. runs the iBook online store, in which consumers can buy e-books for such devices as the iPad. The publishers are Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster; Penguin and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck.

THE DETAILS: At issue is whether those companies engaged in anti-competitive practices in Europe. It is also looking into “agency agreements” in which publishers set a price for e-books, and retailers take a cut of profits.