EU says probe of Apple’s UK iTunes Music Store limited to pricing, not interoperability

“The European Commission is probing Apple Computer Inc. over the pricing of music sold by its iTunes online store, but not its interoperability with other online music software,” MarketWatch reports. “‘We are only investigating price divergences’ concerning iTunes, said E.U. Competition spokesman Jonathan Todd.”

MarketWatch reports, “In February, 2005, the Commission said it’s investigating whether Apple is overcharging U.K. customers for iTunes songs. The U.S.-based computer company charges 79 pence per song downloaded from the Internet in the U.K. and EUR0.99 on the continent. The latter is 20% cheaper. U.K. residents can’t download songs from the non-U.K. Web page. ‘The investigation is in the early stages,’ Todd said at the time.”

Full article here.

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Related article:
European Commission probes charges that Apple iTunes Music Store is ‘ripping off’ UK consumers – February 25, 2005

36 Comments

  1. Why is it that Apple CANNOT charge whatever they want for their merchandise? It isn’t like it is fuel oil or medicine. It’s a luxury item. Why can’t the market decide what is a fair price?

  2. EU is socialist bordering on comunistic economic fascism. If you want to play ball in the EU stadium you have to play their game by their rules.

    It’s like going to a restraunt. If you don’t like what they have on the menu, don’t complain, just go somewhere else to eat.

  3. ***Why is it that Apple CANNOT charge whatever they want for their merchandise?***

    They can. The issue here is that they are restricting British buyers from purchasing songs in, say, France. Since the European Union is a free trade zone this is not allowed (at least in bricks and mortar shops).

    I live in the UK – so I can go anywhere in Europe to buy, say, a car or an iPod, without paying any extra duties or tax. I can just choose where the item is cheapest. I cannot, however, do that with iTunes. I am arbitrarily charged more just because of living in the UK, which is against EU law (certainly in spirit, even if they have found a loophole).

  4. Yeah, and a playstation costs more in Switzerland than it does in the UK.

    What is Apple supposed to do, adjust the song prices with each trade of the British Pound?

    Apple sets the prices, the consumers either pays or walks away. Whether something is not exactly the same price seems irrelevant.

    I mean, if someone purchases a candy bar down the street for more money than someone a mile away — is that illegal?

  5. So, is it the U.K. that does not want to be part of the European ITMS, or is it Apple that does not want to include the U.K.?

    If the U.K. insisted on their own store then they get what they get.
    But like I said, I don’t know, which is it?

  6. twilightmoon:

    socialist bordering on comunistic economic fascism

    Hah…. that is the worst, most juvenile piece of drivel I’ve heard in many, many years. You are an embarrassment to American education. Did you learn ANYTHING about history, or economics at school? You certainly didn’t learn to spell, nor did you learn anything about Europe.

    Remain in ignorance, dumbass… you’re a perfect advertisement for stupidity.

  7. ***unbelievable, looks like socialism is making a comeback***

    Quite the opposite. The European Union is a FREE TRADE area. This investigation is designed to protect FREE TRADE. Hardly a socialist principle.

    Incidentally, it dismays me that so many Americans use the word “socialist” as a sort of lazy insult, almost like “un-American”. I am a great believer that the world would be a better place if true free trade were practised everywhere – without economic borders. However, free trade does need some regulation to ensure a level playing field without any cheating. That is not socialist, it is just making sure the capitalist system works smoothly and fairly.

    Of course, both the US and EU *claim* to embrace free trade. But both embrace it only within fiercly protected regions, freezing poorer parts of the world out of the competition. So before we lazily hurl the world “Socialist” at any economic policy we don’t like, maybe we should remove the damaging – and arguably socialist – protectionist bubble we have in our own countries. Don’t play a holier-than-though free marketeer when you are not even in a truly free market.

  8. “Hah…. that is the worst, most juvenile piece of drivel I’ve heard in many, many years. You are an embarrassment to American education. Did you learn ANYTHING about history, or economics at school? You certainly didn’t learn to spell, nor did you learn anything about Europe.”

    Regarding history: Unlike some other places in the world, the US doesn’t teach its citizens the full history of the US. We get a whitewashed happy flower version of it (for the most part).

    Regarding the other thing: In today’s America, many students are taught how to pass a test, not anything meaningful like civics. <sarcasm> Thanks “no child left behind!” </sarcasm>

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