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Apple escaped a potentially expensive antitrust battle with EU competition regulators today after promising to level the prices it charges for music downloads in Europe. The company currently charges UK customers nearly 10% more for iTunes downloads than it does elsewhere in Europe, but expects to cut prices at its UK iTunes store within six months.
Apple has insisted it has to keep in place country-specific iTunes stores instead of a single iTunes store for all of Europe due to stringent copyright restrictions set up by record labels. It further blames the labels for charging more to distribute their music in the UK than in other countries in Europe, and has threatened to "reconsider" its relationships with any label that did not lower its wholesale prices in the UK to the pan-European level, meaning we could see some subtractions from the UK store should the labels fail to jump in line.