updated 06:35 pm EST, Mon January 22, 2007
France, Germany vs. iTunes
A Norwegian official today revealed that French and German consumer groups have joined several Scandinavian countries in their efforts to pressure Apple to open its iTunes Music Store, thereby enabling customers to purchase, download, and play tracks from iTunes on their non-Apple portable players. In June of 2006 consumer agencies in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden charged that Apple was violating contract and copyright laws in those countries, and provided Apple with a deadline to respond to those claims. Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon said French consumer lobby UFC-Que Choisir and its German counterpart, Verbraucher, joined the movement late last year, according to the Associated Press, and that other European countries are considering joining effort. "This is important because Germany and France are European giants," said Thon. "Germany, in particular, is a big market for digital music."
An Apple spokesman today addressed the announcement: "Apple is aware of the concerns we've heard from several agencies in Europe and we're looking forward to resolving these issues as quickly as possible. Apple hopes that European governments will encourage a competitive environment that lets innovation thrive, protects intellectual property and allows consumers to decide which products are successful."