iTunes under fire from Europe for antitrust issues

Brussels (Belgium) - The European Commission is looking into the practices of iTunes, alleging that the digital music store violates European Union (EU) competition rules.

The commission says that Apple’s deals with record labels "contain territorial sales restrictions," which could lead to fines of up to 10% of Apple’s global annual turnover.

"Consumers are thus restricted in their choice of where to buy music and consequently what music is available, and at what price," said the European Commission in a statement. For example, a single track costs the equivalent of $1.56 in England, while the same song only costs about $1.32 in Germany.

The group also wants Apple to allow users to download iTunes music to devices other than an iPod.

The commission sent a formal letter to Apple outlining the factors it says violate EU restrictions. The Cupertino, CA-based electronics company has two months to respond in order to avoid fines.

"We don’t believe Apple did anything to violate EU We will continue to work with the EU to resolve this matter," said an Apple spokesperson.

In the past eight years, the EU has opened up numerous antitrust cases, including ones against Bayer, Sony BMG, Microsoft, and almost all European airplane and air supply companies.

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