“Apple is expected tomorrow to announce the introduction of an Australian iTunes music store to coincide with the start of its annual MacWorld conference in San Francisco. Australia would be the 16th country in which the computer and consumer electronics maker has opened an outlet,” Nathan Cochrane reports for The Age. “An Apple spokesman refused to comment on the hotly rumoured launch ahead of any official announcement, but it is believed the maker of the iPod digital music player has flown senior executives from California to Sydney for tomorrow’s announcement. ‘We won’t comment on what we are and are not launching because it’s Apple policy,’ the spokesman said. ‘I have been bombarded (with requests to comment).'”
Cochrane reports, “Apple has iTunes music stores in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Britain, Ireland, Canada and the US but the domain name itunes.com.au, which would be likely to point to an Australian site, was still available for sale yesterday. The long-anticipated Australian launch of the service that elsewhere has revived Apple’s flagging fortunes would pre-empt the imminent introduction of a Microsoft-ninemsn joint venture to sell music over the net and would go head to head with existing services from Telstra and Destra.”
“Apple’s Australian download music store is likely to price songs at 99¢ a track and $9.99 an album. This is about a third cheaper than some other markets, such as the US, depending on exchange rate fluctuations,” Cochrane reports. “But veteran music industry commentator and analyst Phil Tripp was dubious yesterday about whether Apple would launch its music store this week, although he said it could launch in the next six months. He said the next most obvious territory was Japan but that launch was hampered by legal, cultural and currency issues. ‘I can’t imagine they would launch iTunes this Wednesday,’ he said.”
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