iTunes Inter-national Pricing

A regular theme on this blog has been differences in Apple’s iTunes Music Store pricing for songs, games and videos. I even launched an iTunes Index based on such differentials. Today the EU has taken action against such differences arising inside the EU.

People can only download singles or albums from the iTunes store in their country of residence, the commission said.

“Consumers are thus restricted in their choice of where to buy music and consequently what music is available, and at what price,” it said in a statement. “For example, in order to buy a music download from the iTunes’ Belgian online store a consumer must use a credit card issued by a bank with an address in Belgium.”

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said Monday the company wanted to operate a single store for all of Europe, but music labels and publishers said there were limits to the rights that could they could grant to Apple.

“We don’t believe Apple did anything to violate EU law,” he said. “We will continue to work with the EU to resolve this matter.”

The cost of buying a single song across the 27-nation bloc varies among the available iTunes stores in EU nations. For example, downloading a single in Britain costs $1.56, in Denmark $1.44, while in countries using the euro such as Germany and Belgium, a single costs $1.32.

My question is: does Apple want to have a world-wide store too? Also, wouldn’t it be good if we had free trade agreements that actually had institutions to enforce free trade?