EU Commissioner Sounds Off Against iTunes - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

06:59 AM

EU Commissioner Sounds Off Against iTunes

The European Commission is looking at the possibility of forcing Apple to unbundle the link between its iTunes on-line music store and the iPod music player.

LONDON — The European Commission is looking at the possibility of forcing Apple to unbundle the link between its iTunes on-line music store and the iPod music player.

In an interview with the German magazine Focus EU consumer protection commissioner Meglena Kuneva is quoted as saying "something has to change" in the way Apple has linked the two such that tracks bought through iTunes will only work on iPods.

"Do you think it's fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that a song purchased from iTunes only plays in an iPod? I don't," the Commissioner told the magazine.

Kuneva's comment — which the Commission stressed is purely her personal view — comes after European consumer groups in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands have made complaints against Apple on several occasions for the same reason.

Norway, which is not in the European Union, has gone further and in January said Apple will face legal action in the country unless it liberalizes its music download system by October.

They all argue that Apple uses Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that limits consumers' actions since downloads through iTunes can only be played on five different computers and on an unlimited number of iPods but on no other MP3 players.

Users with computer knowledge avoid the restriction by burning the music bought on iTunes on a CD in MP3-format and then reintroduce the music on the computer to transfer it to their MP3 player.

Apple is not the only one to use such a system . For instance music purchased from Microsoft's Zune store only play on Zune players and the same goes for music purchased from Sony's Connect store for Sony's players.

So far, the EC, and especially its anticompetition office, has taken no official action and the running has been made by European consumer protection agencies. However, the Commissioner's words, even if taken as a personal view, suggests the EC may in future open a front against the practice.

Last month, Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs in a letter told European consumer groups to direct their anger towards the big record labels instead, as they are the ones demanding the restrictive DRMs. He suggested that one alternative was to abolish DRMs entirely so that every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll