BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Major record firms and Apple will receive a hearing before the European Commission on September 19 and 20 on charges arising from unequal pricing of iTunes online stores across borders, the EU executive said.
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.
The hearing is closed to the public and no judgment will come of it. Instead, the hearing officer will send his summary to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Apple will be in the hearing the entire time. Because each of the record companies signed a different contract with Apple, and on confidential terms, no two record firms will be present at the same time.
The investigation grew out of a 2005 complaint by the British consumer group Which? that iTunes tracks in France and Germany were 99 euro cents ($1.35) for each download, compared with the 79 British pence ($1.59) paid by UK residents.
There is no fixed date for a decision.