Apple defends iTunes in Berlin and Brussels
BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) - Apple President Steve Jobs reiterated his commitment to charging the same price for iTunes downloads across Europe as his lawyers defended the company on Wednesday against allegations its prices are not uniform.
"We think prices should be the same. We think anybody in Europe should buy off any store", Jobs told a press conference in Berlin, which he visited in connection with an iPhone deal.
At the same time, Apple officials were defending the company in Brussels.
The Commission charged in April that Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group and Warner Music Group were forcing Apple to curtail cross-border access to iTunes.
According to a person in the room on Wednesday, a representative of Apple said there was nothing in its contract with Universal obliging it to operate national stores or to set a higher price in countries such as Britain.
Apple, according to the observer, said it had made unilateral decisions, in part because doing business in Europe turned out to be more complex than in the United States.
Apple was represented by Eddy Cue, who heads its iTunes division, and the company's general counsel, Donald Rosenberg.
Originally the hearing was to have run two days, but EMI and Warner dropped out, so it was abbreviated to one day.
The case dates back to 2005, when the consumer association Which? complained that iTune stores in France and Germany charge 99 euro cents (69 pence), but Britons must pay 79 pence.
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