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EC lauds Apple's iTunes price decision

updated 02:40 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2008

iTunes pricing praised

Following Apple's announcement that within the next six months, music prices on the UK iTunes Store will drop to fall in line with other European countries, the European Commission has publicly lauded the decision equalize prices. Officials from the commission said "This puts an end to the different treatment of UK consumers who currently have to pay higher prices for downloads." Prices for iTunes downloads in the UK are currently nearly 10% more expensive than downloads in the euro-zone. Pricing is already standardized between countries such as Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden. Based on current European iTunes prices, tracks on the UK iTunes Store should be cut from 79p to 66p, or $1.30 US.

The different treatment to UK consumers was a major concern for Which?, a UK consumer association, who filed a formal complaint with the Commission. The Commission later determined that agreements between Apple and the major record companies are not what determine how the iTunes store is organized in Europe. Consequently, the Commission does not intend to take further action in this case.

"The Commission is very much in favor of solutions which allow consumers to benefit from a truly Single Market for music downloads," commented Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes the outcome.

Currently, iTunes checks European consumers' residence through their credit card details. For example, in order to buy a music download from the UK view a consumer must use a credit card issued by a bank with an address in the UK.

In closing, officials said "The Commission is aware that some record companies, publishers and collecting societies still apply licensing practices which can make it difficult for iTunes to operate stores accessible for a European consumer anywhere in the EU."

by MacNN Staff




  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    still not fully compliant equalisation of prices is only half the task. The other half of the problem is content that is available on one store and not available on another, which remains a violation of the free passage of goods and services within the EU. There are songs and albums that whilst available to download in certain territories (at lower than bricks & mortar prices) are only available as physical CD's in other territories. What's that about? (Well, I know it's about money but...)

  1. jhawk95

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

    Apple does not sell "physical" music anywhere in the world... so your example is rubbish.

    As far as commodoties not being equally available in the entire EU... a grocer in London should not be able to sell bangers and mash if i cannot also buy it in Warsaw.....?

    Get a life... I am in the United States and connot readily buy Grits in the North but can get them at McDonald's in Louisianna... doesn't mean McDonald's has to offer them at some stores and not others.

    How would you ever "test" market products? No wonder the UK is only one small island now compared to what used to be the British Empire.


  1. greendvid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: jhawk95

    I've never posted on one of these forums before but really sometimes you read things that are beyond ridiculous. jhawk95 you are obviously a raving apple zealot, I hope it is working out well for you. I'm sure you were "the first" to have every apple product! However much as I love apple I'm not going to ignore your idiotic response. While I don't personally care about what is available on european itunes stores (having got around the stupid restriction that stops us using the U.S music store) let me tell you that feathers is perfectly correct when he says that the EU has free movement of goods and services. He didn't say that apple sold physical music either, he said that he some people in EU states are forced to pay more for a physical CD which is not available for download to them. There may be copyright reasons for this but all the same he has a valid point. But you're right, we should assume that you misunderstanding a british persons meaning is the reason for the demise of the british empire you ignorant bolox!

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    greendvid clueless

    Will you brits shut up already. If you are unwilling to convert to the euro and harmonize your VAT with the rest of europe, expect to continue to pay a lot more than the rest of Europe. US prices do not include any sort of VAT sales tax as it is added at the checkout. If you subtract VAT, the UK prices are often much lower that US prices. Shut your pie hole.

  1. greendvid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: aristotles

    I'm Irish. genius

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stupid yanks?

    jhawk95 and aristotles are you both stupid, or is it that you really don't know when you don't know what you're talking about?

    Feathers is right. The real issue here is not pricing, but access to the goods/services in another country. That doesn't make it illegal to sell bangers and mash in London and not Paris, but it does make it problematic to not send those same bangers to Paris through the post (you can think of good reasons not to, but that's a different issue).

    Apple is breaking EU regulations because it won't allow "Brits" to buy from the German iTunes store, and vice versa. Thus it is preventing the free movement of goods and services - and there doesn't appear to be a good reason for that (ie the goods are just as easily delivered to the UK as Germany).

    As to VAT harmonisation and the euro. There's no VAT harmonisation anywhere in Europe, even in the eurozone. Luxembourg's VAT rate is 15%, Germany's is 16%, Denmark is 25%, UK is 17.5%, Republic of Ireland is 25%... and you can also bet that they cover different things: in the UK books and magazines are exempt from VAT, most other places it is charged.

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