updated 11:55 am EDT, Fri May 16, 2008
Apple fighting Swiss levy
Apple is resisting a blank media levy imposed by the Swiss government, according to local newspaper Basler Zeitung. The levy is managed by SUISA, the Swiss Society for the Rights of Authors of Musical Works, and is intended to compensate labels and musicians for the effect of piracy. It applies to all media players sold in the country, but Apple is said to be arguing for exemption, on the basis that Swiss iPods sold online are actually shipped out of Ireland.
The levy may be having significant impact on both Apple and the public, as the fees on RAM-based players are said to be extremely high. It is currently set at 42 CHF per player, but until April 1st it was even greater, at a cost of 153 CHF for a 32GB iPod touch. Apple insists it has not passed the price difference on to shoppers, but anecdotes claim that a recent price drop was equivalent to the drop in the levy.
Apple will soon be launching the iPhone in Switzerland, but it is unclear whether the product will be classified as a media player.