On the heels of the announcement that the EMI catalogue on iTunes will now be sold without DRM (meaning you can play the music on any mp3 player, not just the iPod) the European Union is launching an antitrust probe into the online music store.
The cause for the probe lies in the way iTunes wants to sells music in Europe. Based on the American model iTunes wants to operate a single store located in one country and sell their music across the borders. This is in violation of territorial sales restrictions and the end result is that the consumer can only buy songs from iTunes if he or she holds a credit card from a bank in the country where the iTunes store is located. As a result the majority of European iPod owners will not be able to purchase music from the store.
The centralized approach is Apple’s attempt at circumventing the antitrust lawsuits put against the company by several European governments and consumer groups over their copy protection.
Apple has two months to respond to the probe.