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Coca-Cola turns to Apple for iTunes deal

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em —Looking to rebound from a failing music venture of its own, Coca-Cola is reportedly in talks with Apple Computer over an iTunes promotion to hype its new no-calorie cola.

According to a report in Europe's DigitalBulletin, the soft-drink maker hopes to garner appeal for its Coke Zero brand by offering UK customers discounts at Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Word of the deal comes less than a week after Coca-Cola said it would cease operation of its download service, which launched in 2004 with a music catalog of over 250,000 tracks.

The service —once Europe's largest for legally downloaded music —buckled quickly following Apple's entrance into the region with its European Union iTunes Music Store.

According to data from U.K. market research company XTN, iTunes held a 54 percent share of the British online music market in November 2005 compared to 6 percent for Mycokemusic.

As part of its deal with Apple, Coca-Cola is also reportedly in talks to sponsor digital content that will be accessible through iTunes.

Insiders told DigitalBulletin the iTunes tie-up could help Coca-Cola maintain its edge in the competitive UK soft-drinks market.

Twice before, Apple has teamed with Coke rival Pepsi Co. in offering similar promotions in the US.