Apple seen set to resolve EU iTunes case

BRUSSELS Tue Jan 8, 2008 8:42am EST

1 of 2. Shoppers make their way past the Apple Store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois, October 22, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Apple will soon announce steps to resolve European Commission charges that its iTunes stores broke EU rules by setting prices country by country in Europe, people familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The announcement may come later on Tuesday or at the latest by Thursday, the sources said.

After that, the European Union competition regulator is expected to announce that it is closing the long-running case involving the pricing of online sales of music and video used in the popular iPod personal audiovisual player.

A Commission spokesman had no comment, and a spokesman for Apple also had no immediate comment.

In April 2007 the Commission said Apple had breached EU rules by agreeing with Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group and Warner Music Group to curtail cross-border access to iTunes.

The case dates back to 2005, when the British consumer association Which? complained that iTunes stores in France and Germany charged 99 euro cents ($1.45), while Britons must pay 79 pence ($1.56), instead of letting all Europeans buy at one store.

Representatives for the four music groups were either unavailable or declined to comment immediately.

(Reporting by David Lawsky; additional reporting by Kate Holton in London, editing by Will Waterman)


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