Feeds

France rules Apple's DRM denial not anti-competition

But it puts consumers at a disadvantage

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A French retailers attempt to force Apple to license its DRM technology has failed.

The French government's competition watchdog this week dismissed a complaint brought by VirginMega, which alleged Apple's refusal to license FairPlay ran contrary to French anti-trust law.

The retailers complaint was ruled to be short on convincing evidence, the watchdog ruled. In any case, it said, Apple's refusal to license FairPlay was on no way hampering the expansion of the digital music download market - growth indicated by the huge number of rivals popping up to compete with the iTunes Music Store.

VirginMega - a joint venture between Virgin France and local media company Lagardère - filed its complaint last August, around the time Real Networks launched Harmony, a DRM conversion system that generates FairPlay-compatible code. Apple muttered dark mumblings at the time, and waved the possibility of legal action in Real's face, but has since said or done little about it.

VirginMega uses Windows' own audio and DRM technology - it's online music service is supplied by Loudeye's European subsidiary, OD2 - which isn't supported by the iPod. Since Apple won't build WMA compatibility into the iPod, Virgin wants Apple to license FairPlay so it can incorporate the technology into the tracks it sells, making them iPod-compatible.

It wants to do so because the iPod has such a large share of the French portable music player market. By refusing to license FairPlay, VirginMega said, Apple was unfairly restricting access to that market. However, the French competition comission noted that there are plenty of WMA-compatible devices out there for VirginMega to sell to.

The watchdog admitted, however, that the lack of compatibility between rival music services and players did put consumers at a "disadvantage", but that fact was beyond the scope of its enquiry. ®

Related stories

Virgin demands Apple license iTunes DRM
Real anti-Apple poll swamped by pro-Apple posters
Real fires back at Apple in DRM dogfight
Apple blasts Real DRM translator
Real to 'free' iPod from iTunes Music Store
Apple opens Euro iTunes stores
OFT urged to investigate 'rip-off' iTunes
iTunes Japan hits 'inadequate DRM' hurdle

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.