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Friday, October 29, 2004, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Ireland left out of EU iTunes Music Store rollout

If reports are true, Apple's European Union (EU) iTunes Music Store was originally slated to include 10 new countries, not 9.

"It appears Apple originally planned to open for business in Ireland this Tuesday, when it extended its service across Europe. These plans, however, were stymied at the last minute by a disagreement with the Irish Music Rights Organization (IMRO)," claims Macworld UK.

Negotiations between the two parties are ongoing, an an IMRO spokesperson said.

Apple this week launched iTunes music stores in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. However, the company's iTunes Web site had previously suggested that Ireland would be included in the EU iTunes mix.

A message on the iTunes site originally read: "Purchases from the iTunes Music Store are available only in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, UK and the United States."

Apple declined to comment on the Macworld UK report, saying: "We are not announcing any new stores beyond Canada in November at this point of time. We are committed to expanding the iTunes Music Store globally, and will announce new countries as and when they come on board."

All references to Ireland on Apple's iTunes web site quietly disappeared as of Friday afternoon.