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."