Apple officials said the company currently pays higher wholesale prices in the UK, and that it will "reconsider its continuing relationship in the UK" with labels that do not extend pan-European pricing to the UK within six months.
"This is an important step towards a pan-European marketplace for music," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing."
The higher prices charged in the UK led to an antitrust investigation by the European Commission.
EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said "The Commission is very much in favour of solutions which allow consumers to benefit from a truly Single Market for music downloads."
EC officials also noted they had determined that no agreement exists between Apple and the record companies regarding the organisation of the iTunes Store in Europe - "Rather, the structure of the iTunes store is chosen by Apple to take into account the country-specific aspects of copyright laws."
While the Commission would prefer to see what would be essentially a single iTunes Store for the whole of Europe, officials noted that some record companies and other rightsholders still use licensing practices that make it difficult (some might say impossible) for Apple to achieve this.
The EC will be taking no further action against Apple in the antitrust case, but its statement seems to leave open the possibility of tackling other parts of the music industry to help achieve a true single market across the European Union.
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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.