Apple cancels plans for UK iTunes price cuts

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld U.K.’s blog page for the latest Mac news from across the Atlantic.

Apple has scrapped plans to cut its UK iTunes prices, despite promising to do so at the start of the year.

In January, Apple announced that within six months it would lower the prices it charges for music on its UK iTunes Store to match the already standardized pricing on iTunes across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain.

Six months ago, the company said it would lower the price of songs in the U.K. to bring British fees into line with those on its other European services.

In most of Europe iTunes tracks currently cost 99 Euro cents, which is about 74p—compared to the UK iTunes price of 79p.

“This is an important step towards a pan-European marketplace for music,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the time. “We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing.”

But the BBC reports that exchange rate changes since January mean 99 Euro cents now equals 79p, meaning no price cut is necessary.

In September 2007, Jobs said that his company wanted a level playing field for music sales in Europe, despite the European probe that suggests the company has questions to answer over its iTunes pricing policy: “We think prices should be the same. We think anybody in Europe should buy off any store.”

But as the Euro rose in value, so the difference in pricing has been reduced.

“The announcement was that we would match the UK price to that of other lower priced European countries,” an Apple spokesman is quoted in the BBC report. “This is no longer necessary as exchange rates have effectively done it for us.”

This leaves Apple in a position where it is run by exchange rates rather than its own model or even the demands of music companies. The spokesman “was unable to confirm what would happen when the exchange rate changed again, or whether British fans could end up paying more than 79p,” according to the BBC.

But the spokesman did say that Apple wanted to keep the pan-European prices “standardized.”

In the U.S., each iTunes song costs 99 cents, which is equivalent to about 49p or 62 euro cents.

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