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'Deceitful' Apple Sued by French Consumer Group

'Deceitful' Apple Sued by French Consumer Group

by , 9:00 AM EST, February 14th, 2005

A French consumer group is suing Apple Computer and Sony claiming the iTunes Music Store and Sony's Connect service are anti-competitive because they only work with the companies' own music players.

UFC-Que Choisir, the Paris-based consumer group, has sent a court summons to the French subsidiaries of Apple and Sony, according to Les Echos, the French sister newspaper of the Financial Times.

UFC-Que Choisir called the practice of both companies "deceitful" and asked the court to fine both companies.

It is the second time that Apple has faced a legal challenge in France. Last year, VirginMega failed in its attempt to force the company to open up the iPod and its digital rights management technology, known a Fairplay, so consumers could buy music from other online services and play them on other devices. That complaint was rejected in November 2004 by the French Competition Council which ruled that "access to (the iPod) isn't indispensible to the development of legal platforms for the downloading of online music."

A similiar complaint was filed against Apple last year in Great Britain. In September, Britian's Consumers' Association accused Apple of overcharging its UK customers to download music from iTMS and filed a complaint with the governmental Office of Fair Trading (OFT) requesting an investigation. No decision has yet been handed down by the OFT.

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