Apple was dealt a blow in Europe on Wednesday when Norway’s powerful consumer ombudsman ruled that its iTunes online music store was illegal because it did not allow downloaded songs to be played on rival technology companies’ devices. The decision is the first time any jurisdiction has concluded iTunes breaks its consumer protection laws and could prompt other European countries to review the situation. The ombudsman has set a deadline of October 1 for the Apple to make its codes available to other technology companies so that it abides by Norwegian law. If it fails to do so, it will be taken to court, fined and eventually closed down. Apple, whose iTunes dominates the legal download market, has its proprietory system Fairplay. Songs and tunes downloaded through iTunes are designed to work with Apple’s MP3 player iPod, but cannot be played on rival devices. Torgeir Waterhouse, senior adviser to the Norwegian Consumer Council, who originally launched the complaint, told the Financial Times he was in negotiations with pan-European consumer groups to present a unified position on iTunes’ legality. Sweden and Finland have already backed Norway’s stance, but have yet to take action, and Mr Waterhouse said the campaign was joined on Wednesday by Germany and France.
Norway declares Apple’s iTunes illegal