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Dutch consumer chief puts Apple through the mill

Europe rises up against iTunes

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The Netherlands has joined Scandinavian led action against Apple's digital rights management lock on its iPod device and iTunes software.

Apple is coming under increasing pressure from EU nations (including Germany, France, Sweden and Finland) who want to force the company to unlock its iTunes software so it can be used with other MP3 players.

Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjørn Erik Thon ruled Wednesday that iTunes violates his country's consumer law. He has set a 1 October deadline for iTunes to alter its conditions.

The Dutch Consumer Ombudsman lodged a complaint not only with the newly formed Dutch Consumer Authority (ConsumentenAutoriteit), which will act as the enforcer of 15 European consumer protection directives, but also with the Dutch anti-trust agency.

The Consumer Ombudsman says it was already in discussion with Apple over its iTunes service. Apple doesn't tell its customers the iTunes software only runs on iPods, which the Ombudsman says is "misleading". "Norway's ultimatum have encouraged us," a spokesman for the organisation said today.

Apple dominates the Dutch internet download market with a 50 per cent share.

In an official statement earlier this week, Apple said it is aware of the concerns from several agencies in Europe and looking forward to resolving these issues as quickly as possible. ®

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