Apple in the dock over iTunes pricing

Apple has been defending its European policy on iTunes pricing

Apple is attempting to fend off criticism over its iTunes pricing policy in Europe.

The company has been criticised for setting up national iTunes Stores instead of a pan-European one, and also for setting different prices for downloadable tracks, depending on which territory you're in. In the UK, for example, you'll pay 79p per track, while in France it's 99 euro cents - that's a whole 10p cheaper by the time you've done the currency conversion.

This is what Steve Jobs had to say on the subject at the German launch of the iPhone in Berlin yesterday:

"We think prices should be the same. We think anybody in Europe should buy off any store."

Apple exposed?

Apple currently has 17 individual iTunes Stores spread across Europe, with some variation in pricing. Apple says things have panned out this way because its had to negotiate with record labels on a territory by territory basis.

However one observer told European Commission anti-trust investigators in Brussels yesterday that this isn't the case. Instead Apple chose to make unilateral decisions because doing business in Europe was more complex than in the United States, according to a Reuters report.

Apple is acting as a witness in an EC investigation into alleged sharp practices by record labels. Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, EMI and Warner Music Group have all been accused of forcing Apple to cut cross-border access to iTunes.