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Thursday, February 12, 2004, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Apple "forcefully objecting" to Sony-BMG merger

"Apple, the US computer company behind the iTunes music service, has become the latest group to oppose the proposed deal between Sony Music and BMG, the recorded music arm of Germany's Bertelsmann media group", according to the Financial Time.

The computer maker reportedly expressed concerns about possible "vertical integration" between the merged entity and its respective media parents and "forcefully raised objections over the enlarged music group's selling power for music downloads and potential favorable terms with Sony Connect, the Japanese group's forthcoming rival to Apple's iTunes."

If successful, the merger could allow the duo to foreclose competitors in the markets for music downloading services and portable digital music players from access to Sony-BMG's music library. This issue poses yet another potential roadblock to the successful launch of an overseas Apple's iTunes Music Store.