Scandinavians get tough on Apple

Denmark, Norway and Sweden plan to force Apple Computers Inc to break the exclusive link between its iPod music players and online iTunes store, the Swedish Consumer Agency said on Friday.

The three Scandinavian countries have decided to take iTunes to their respective government mediators, or ombudsmen.

At present, the only portable players able to play files downloaded form iTunes are Apple’s own iPods.

“iTunes’ terms and conditions are illegal in all three countries,” Swedish Consumer Agency spokeswoman Marianne Aabyhammar told AFP.

The agency also criticised iTunes on a number of counts relating to its contracts.

“Not all, but certain parts of iTunes’ contract information we found published in English only,” Aabyhammar said.

“If iTunes fails to improve its terms and conditions in Sweden, we may take the case to Sweden’s market court,” Aabyhammar added.

Apple Computer Inc. has always refused to allow its paid-for music files downloaded via iTunes to be converted into another format, which would allow them to be listened to on a music player other than its iPod.