Apple steps in EU

by David Spark on April 3, 2007

Lots of iTunes news today.

The European Commission has opened an antitrust probe into iTunes and potential collusion tactics with the music labels. They’re saying that Apple has territorial sales restrictions that violate EU rules on competition. And it appears they’ve got compelling evidence as there are price fluctuations all across the continent.

This probe is in addition to Europe’s concern with iTunes’ incompatibility with non-iPod MP3 players. The country of Norway has threatened a lawsuit if Apple doesn’t open it up to other players by Oct. 1st. I’m sure Apple is really scared. Begin holding your breath now for that to happen. Apple’s success with both iPod and iTunes is that they operate in a closed network.

But today’s news about the EU is on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Apple will be selling DRM-free songs from EMI’s entire catalog. A DRM free song means you can copy it anywhere with no restrictions. Both Apple and EMI see this as a premium so they’re going to charge you a $1.29 a song instead of purchasing an equivalent $.99 song with copying restrictions.

It’s an impressive move by Jobs showing that he’s actually putting his money where his mouth is. Steve Jobs wrote an open letter to the community announcing he’s all in favor of doing away with all digital rights management.

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