Global Watchtower, the Common Sense Advisory blog, carries a posting about a European Parliament report citing European lack of confidence in online sales. Seems the major contributing factor is the difficulty Europeans face in buying goods outside their home countries.
Now, this may seem remarkable to anyone outside the EU, but if you live inside it then you’ll be aware than there are tons (or is it tonnes?) of barriers to free trade and free movement of labor, despite the lofty EU ideals. Try buying a car in the UK and importing it to Ireland, and see how fast the Irish taxman comes a-knockin’ on your door to collect the difference.
I have some recent experience of this myself – a relative in the UK bought me some iTunes song vouchers/coupons as a gift. I live in Ireland. Could I retrieve those songs? No way! You can only buy and download within your country of residence.
I read recently that Apple who now face an European Commission antitrust probe after Brussels issued formal charges alleging that the deals underpinning the sale of music through the hugely popular iTunes platform violated EU competition rules.
The Commission’s main concern is that iTunes’ set-up in the European market prohibits users in one country from downloading music from a website intended to serve another. Its move was triggered by a 2004 complaint from Which?, the UK consumer organisation, criticising the fact that the UK version of iTunes was more expensive than the version in other European markets.
That’s good news, but I guess I’ll be waiting for a while to get those iTunes songs.
Tip to Common Sense Advisory: Forget about the Members of the European Parliament. It’s the European Commission that calls the shots …