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iTunes takes another fat probe from the EU: anti-competitive practices

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Sorry to end the EMI and Apple anti-DRM love-in so quickly but the EU is back with more complaints about Apple's business model. This time, they've launched an official probe into iTunes pricing across Europe accusing Apple of "restricting choice." Only now, the "Big 4" music majors are also lumped into the European Commission's accusations of anti-competitive practices. The core of the complaint is Apple's nationalized approach to their iTunes store. On-line shoppers can only purchase content from the store in their home country with British shoppers suffering the highest per song fees at 79p or $1.56 at current exchange rates -- ouch! As they tend to do, Apple quickly shifted blame to the labels by stating through a spokesman that Apple "wanted to operate a Europe-wide store, but music labels and publishers expressed legal and copyright concerns." Of course, if that strategy doesn't work out for you Atlas, you can always shrug.

Update: The EU Commission is now saying that Apple's multi-country store approach is indeed being "imposed on Apple by the major record companies." Of course, the majors have come off the ropes swinging by denying any breach of law. Now quick, redirect your ire at the Big 4 per protocol.

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