In the next six months, the price of songs will drop from 79p to 74p, while albums will fall from £7.99 to £7.48, Apple said today. This will bring it into line with the 99c and €9.99 that it charges in the rest of Europe. The concession is a victory for the Competition Commission and its head Neelie Kroes, who’s been on Apple’s case about this since April last year.
However, Apple wasn’t all sweetness and light today. It reckons that some record labels charge them more money to sell songs in the UK – which forces them to charge more to customers. So unless these labels drop their wholesale prices too, Apple is going to get stroppy. The tech giant said it would ‘reconsider its continuing relationship’ with any label that doesn’t adjust its charges to match. ‘We hope every major record label will take a pan-European view of pricing,’ said CEO Steve Jobs. If they don’t, we could find ourselves with fewer songs to choose from.
It’s been an exciting week in the world of hi-tech, with all the big firms converging on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. Here at MT we were excited by the potential business applications of the iShoes, electric roller skates that allow you to zoom along at speeds of up to 13.5mph. Designed for use in New York, it’s the perfect way to shoot across the City to your next meeting while taxis languish in traffic (though we’re hoping users won’t be allowed on the pavement; that could end in tears). It’s just a pity the company has taken the bog-standard approach to naming new tech products these days: i.e. take the existing name and stick an ‘i’ in front of it.
Technology can’t solve all our problems, however. Today, we received a press release from Avaya suggesting IP telephony could cure the Norovirus epidemic (presumably because it assists flexible working, and thus helps the infected work without coming into the office and spreading their germs) – which sounds a bit far-fetched even by PR standards. And in Vegas on Monday, Bill Gates took on Slash at Guitar Hero – but somehow still looked more like an ageing computer programmer than an ice-cool rock guitarist...