EU investigates iTunes fee

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Claims that British consumers pay a premium of up to 20 per cent to download music from the Apple iTunes website are being investigated by European regulators.

The inquiry, announced yesterday by the European Commission, will decide whether the company is charging substantially higher prices in the UK than in Germany or France. If so the Commission may take a case against it for breaking European law. Apple could be ordered to change its business practices or face hefty fines.

The iTunes Music Store is a digital facility that allows users to buy and download songs to a computer, for 79p each in the UK or 99 cents (the equivalent of 68p) in France and Germany.