EU launches iTunes antitrust probe

The European Commission is investigating Apple and the major record companies, alleging that they are restricting music sales in Europe. A spokesman for the commission said agreements between Apple’s iTunes Store and the record companies—Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music, Warner Music and EMI Group—violate the European Union’s competition rules.

“Consumers can only buy music from the iTunes online stores in their country of residence and are therefore restricted in their choice of where to buy music, and consequently what music is available and at what price,” said Jonathan Todd, European Commission spokesman.

Apple said it has wanted to offer a pan-European store, but blames the record companies for not letting it happen. “Apple has always tried to operate a single pan-European iTunes stores accessible by anyone from any member state. But we were advised by the music labels and publishers that there were certain legal limits to the rights they could grant us,” Apple said in a statement.

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