European Regulators Continue To Harass Apple
The European Commission has launched yet another investigation into potential violations by Apple and two major labels. Apple, who is consistently at the brunt of several European nations over iTunes interoperability, is now getting the beatdown for cross-border sales and pricing.
The regulators are examining whether the iTunes Store unfairly restricts sales within specific European countries by prohibiting cross-border downloads. Regulators are also evaluating different pricing schemes between different countries, a violation of European Union statutes. “Consumers can only buy music from the iTunes online stores in their country of residence and are therefore restricted in their choice of where to buy music, and consequently what music is available and at what price,” said Jonathan Todd, a European Commission spokesman.
It is reported that two major labels are also being looked into and that could expand. Apple contends that it is following the strict licensing guidelines offered by labels and publishers within various countries. In fact, Apple wants to only operate a single, pan-European iTunes Store, accessible by anyone from any member state. This latest investigation follows an initial probe by the Office of Fair Trading in Britain in September of 2004, which examined concerns related to pricing disparities between the UK, France, and Germany.