EU attacks Apple over iTunes

THE European Union's consumer chief has hit out at Apple's bundling of its iPod music players and its iTunes online music store. "Do you think it's fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that an iTunes song only plays in an iPod? I don't. Something has to change," EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva was quoted as saying in weekly magazine Focus. Apple could not be immediately reached for comment on the report.

Norway, a European country that is not in the EU, is battling Apple for the same reason. In January, it said the computer and software giant must liberalise its music download system by October 1 or face legal action. Pressure on Apple has been building, with consumer rights organisations from Germany, France, Finland and Norway recently agreeing a joint position in their battles against iTunes. They argue that Apple uses digital rights technology to limit consumers' free use of songs bought on iTunes, including the ability to copy and transfer songs to other users and other MP3 devices besides the Apple iPod. Both at the national and EU levels, however, the issue has been looked at by consumer agencies rather than the competition watchdogs whose role it is to decide whether a business activity violates rules on fair competition

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News source: AustralianIT

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Suing Ford because their parts won't work in a Suziki?

It is more akin to ford selling a car, then saying you can only fill it with special ford petrol, which is inflated in price and no one else can produce.

If that was the case then you would be seriously ****ed off.

There is no technological barrier to iTunes tracks playing on other mp3 players. The restraints are artificial. AAC files on their own can be played back on any device which supports AAC.

Your analogies only work if Ford embedded a chip in their parts which meant they refused to function when not part of a Ford car.

Of course you can use that CD in ANY CD player you want...

but why should Apple abide by such silly standard and rules of competition and consumer rights, just because every other product class has to abide by standard of consumer rights doesn't mean they have to.. or should.. they're apple, they can't do anythign bad...

Making apple license their DRM so the CONSUMER is able to play THEIR music, THEY payed for with THEIR money in any DAP device THEY choose to is not a bad thing. It's called consumer rights, why you would even argue this is questionable, akin to something like blind faith, but then there's a lot of that in your posting history when Apple is involved.

Even Apple wouldn't be hurt by licensing Fairplay, they'd get money form licensing, and they'd still get money from sellign iPod. afterall iPod are a superior device and peopel would still buy it even if it's not the only DAP you can use with iTunes... right... ? or are you saying locking customers in is the only way for apple to sell the iPod?

As I have said, and has been stated several times over by everyone inthe industry and consyumer right organizations. Digital music may in some cases by tech limited to play on only certain devices true, but this isn't true for iTunes music, the reaosn you can't play iTunes music on other devices is because they are sold with "protective" code that only allows it to be played on the iPod. a code that could easily be licensed to third parties and still be secure, if apple wasn't using it to only lock customers to iTunes. afterall if MS can make their DRM licenseable and still be more hack proof than FairPlay... Then surely Apple can do it as well, or is their FairPlay protection inferior and so fragile they can't share it with anyone because it will instantly be broken then ?

and yes, this is entrapment

"Apple's product.

Apple's store."

Yes, and they have the right to not sell their products in Europe if they dislike European consumer protection laws.

kronix2 said,
Yes, and they have the right to not sell their products in Europe if they dislike European consumer protection laws.


People can like Apple all they want but its actions here only serve their shareholders and restrict consumers. I don't see why people are so quick to defend multi-billion dollar companies seeking to make more profit, particularly when here Apple has a negative impact upon the market and the consumer.

HawkMan said,
....afterall iPod are a superior device...

<bender>Ahahahaha. Oh wait, you're serious. Let me laugh harder.</bender>
Superior how? Market share? Or because it plays Fairplay tracks from iTunes? It's not because it has better audio fidelity or a greater range of supported formats like my 3 year old Karma does...

What I think is funny is that part of the reason iTunes sells protected music is because the music labels wouldn't let Apple sell their music unless it was protected. Not that I think Apple doesn't make out with that deal but it still seems like the EU is going after the wrong company.

Neithr Norway, Scandinavia or the EU is going after the DRM. They are going after the fact that Apple uses a DRM that is locked to the ipod and iTunes and can't be licensed by third parties.

and when MS moves their Zune store and copy protection over to europ makign a Zune-zune lock in, they will go after MS as well.

HawkMan said,
Neithr Norway, Scandinavia or the EU is going after the DRM. They are going after the fact that Apple uses a DRM that is locked to the ipod and iTunes and can't be licensed by third parties.

and when MS moves their Zune store and copy protection over to europ makign a Zune-zune lock in, they will go after MS as well.

Didn't think of that. Good point.

If you buy music from Apple why should you have to use it in an Apple product?

Buying toothpaste at Wal-Mart doesn't require a Wal-Mart toothbrush.

Apple intentionally created a proprietary format to make money. They're shutting out their competitors purposefully. That's illegal.

Yes, particularly because there is no technical reason for it, any mp3 player should be able to play any common format, they are just artificially limited.

I'd like to see a DRM standard and the way its being used, but I do not agree with the EU having the right to push it like they do.

If you don't want itunes don't get an Ipod.

If you don't want DRM then forget about buying music online(for a while at least).

The Crazy old farts at the EU are at it again, and they continue to baffle me with how far they are out of touch. Steve Jobs has already commented on why Apple uses DRM, I was angry with Apple for forcing people to buy iPods to listen to purchases from iTunes until i hear Steve’s side of the story.

The EU knows very well that the big four record companies refused to sell music on-line unless there was strict control over what can be done with the files once downloaded. Steve pointed out that on-line sales account for less that 10% of the world music sales - which leaves 90% of music DRM free. Apple has been forced to do a deal that required strict use of DRM

beatlesdb said,
Apple has been forced to do a deal that required strict use of DRM

Please don't act as if Jobs is in between a rock and a hard place. He loves the situation he's in. He gets to make money off of the RIAA's scare tactics all the while making more money on selling his bolt-on player.

But who forced him to create and use a DRM that he won't license to anyone else then ?

I don't believe the record companies said anything about that, in fact I believe they said they'ld love for him to license fairPlay to others.

Exactly. The labels have expressed concern over Apple's domination of the market and their refusal to licence the DRM technology to other online stores. I'm all for the EU protecting me against that and pity people that worship Apple / hate the EU so much that they can't see the situation for what it is.

You can stick your head in the sand and continue to be raped by multi-billion dollar companies (seeking to make a profit and please their shareholders) if you so desire but don't try to include me in that - I support the EU's consumer protection laws and the way they have been enforced. I have no sympathy for Steve Jobs, in fact I rather dislike that little windbag.

What the article fails to mention is that the statements were the personal opinion of this woman. They do not represent the views of the EU, which does not hold the same opinion of Apple as she does. It's been blown way out of proportion, and the EU has no plans to legislate Apple (which I feel they should. Wanna attack Microsoft for using anti-competitive practices? Then you'll have to do the same to Apple).

I think part of the difference between wanting to attack Microsoft and not Apple is that in most people's eyes the iPod is the best digital music player there is and the iTunes Store is the best digital music store there is. Things are made even more interesting with the introduction of the iPhone, whose music interface is most likely the next step for the iPod as well and surely beats the pants off of any other music player out there. So while Apple my be anti-competitive with the iPod/iTunes they are still creating competition and creativity by being the best out there; it's a pretty interesting situation.

Creating competition? Apple is doing no such thing. Other companies are trying to get into the market and develop products to compete but Apple's actions only serve to restrict them and extend the dominance of the iPod. Sure the iPod might be the best MP3 player about (hence why I own one) but I detest the way that Apple restricts online music purchases to iTMS, or the few fringe DRM-free operations out there. I wish the EU would take Apple to account and force them to open up the iPod/iTMS or prevent them from operating - the current situation is unacceptable.

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