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EU abandons iTunes antitrust case against Apple

[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] Wednesday dropped its antitrust case [press release] against Apple's iTunes [JURIST news archive] after Apple announced it would equalize prices for music downloads from iTunes in Europe. A UK consumer protection organization had filed a formal complaint with the Commission, which launched an investigation [press release; JURIST report] in April 2007 into whether sales restrictions based on the buyer's country of residence violated EU antitrust laws. Music buyers in Europe are only able to download songs or albums from the iTunes store in their own country. Depending on where in Europe the buyer lives, music prices vary by as much as $0.24 for a single song.

Facing possible fines if found in violation of EU antitrust [JURIST news archive] laws, Apple has vowed to put at end to the higher prices currently paid by UK consumers and will equalize prices within the next six months [press release]. Apple [corporate website] blamed the disparity on record companies charging more at the wholesale level in the UK than other countries but promised to reconsider its relationships with any company that did not lower its prices in the UK. AFP has more.

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