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Apple opens Euro iTunes stores

Canadian store in November

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Update Apple has launched the iTunes Music Store's pan-Europe incarnation, as it promised to do last June when it opened UK, French and German online stores.

And the company said it would open a Canadian store in November.

The new version, which was heralded in September by Apple's ITMS chief, Eddy Cue, targets Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Belgian, Finnish, Greek, Portuguese music fans, tempting them with song downloads priced at €0.99. The language is English.

Downloaded tracks can be played on up to five Macs or PCs, and burned to CD any number of times, though Playlists can only be burned up to seven times. Tracks can be transferred to any number of iPods.

Support for the new store comes in iTunes 4.7, which was released last night.

As we've noted before, the launch of the new site highlights the problematic issue of differential pricing. In the UK, Apple has already come under criticism from the Consumers Association because the UK ITMS prices are higher than their German and French - and now Dutch, Italian, etc. - equivalents.

Apple blames that on the different licensing regimes in each territory - one of the reasons why CDs are priced differently in different European nations and the US, for example. But its refusal to allow, say, UK buyers to acquire songs from the French store, may run contrary to European Union regulations covering the freedom of trade across EU member states' borders. The fact that it's going to open a 'borderless' version of ITMS for multiple Euro states shows that if it can submerge the different licensing regimes for these countries, it ought to be able to do so for others. ®

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