By Jemima Kiss: Norway is pushing ahead with its mission to get Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to change its long-running locked-down content system. Consumer ombudsman Erik Thon is taking the firm to Norway’s market council, which has the power to force companies to change their trade practices. Thon contends that it is a consumer’s right to be able to play music that they buy on any device – downloads from the iTunes Store, of course, work only on Apple devices, though consumers can opt to pay more for the open, MP3 format.
Apple rivals, including UK store 7digital, have been quick to exploit what is widely seen as one of Apple’s major shortcomings in the download market. 7digital last week announced that its store now offers tracks from all four major labels in MP3 – though that move is unlikely to do much to dent Apple’s whopping 70 percent share of the UK’s legal digital downloads market.
Norway has been chosen for the test case that Thon has been co-ordinating for two years with colleagues in France, Germany, Finland and Denmark. Thon: “It’s a consumer’s right to transfer and play digital content bought and downloaded from the internet to the music device he himself chooses to use.”
“iTunes makes this impossible or at least difficult and, hence, they act in breach of Norwegian law. iTunes has now had two years to meet our demands regarding interoperability – no progress has been reported by iTunes since our meeting in February.”
If successful, Apple will be forced to open up all the tracks in the iTunes Store. It has until November 3 to reply to Erik Thon. This is being seen as a major test case for Apple and the consumer rights movement, though the verdict isn’t due until early next year.
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..