The European Commission is launching an antitrust probe against Apple and several major music companies after Brussels issued formal charges alleging the deals that underpin the sale of music through the hugely popular iTunes platform violate competition rules, the Financial Times reports.
In a surprise development, the Brussels regulator last week sent a confidential statement of objections outlining the accusations to Apple and to "major record companies". These are understood to include Universal, Warner, EMI and SonyBMG.
Separately, EMI said Monday it will make all of its digital music available without any antipiracy software through Apple's iTunes Store.
The deal includes only music from EMI's existing digital catalogue, quashing speculation that the Beatles' recordings would be available to download legally for the first time.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the world's four major record companies, including EMI, to start selling songs online without copy protection software to thwart piracy known as digital rights management, or DRM.