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Thursday, May 29, 2008, 08:55 am PT (11:55 am ET)

iPhone ramp delay; iTunes movies for UK & Canada; WTO complaint

One analyst has tied an Infineon profit warning to "delays" with Apple's 3G iPhone ramp. Meanwhile, the UK and Canadian versions of the iTunes Store will soon serve up feature films. And Apple is among a handful of US companies who've filed a grievance with the WTO over steep European tariffs.

Apple having issues with 3G iPhone ramp?

UBS Investment Research analyst Nicolas Gaudois issued a report to clients on Thursday in which he associated a new profit warning from baseband chip maker Infineon with supposed delays in the manufacturing ramp of Apple's highly anticipated 3G handset.

"In our view the profit warning has been caused by ramp changes of next generation iPhone, into which Infineon is supplying the main High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) chipset," he said. More specifically, he said the delay has resulted in 1.5 million fewer orders for the chipset during Infineon's current quarter.

A spokesperson for chip maker later confirmed the company to have "received lower orders than expected" for certain HSDPA chips destined for a "high-speed Internet phone," but stopped short of specifying the iPhone by name.

While those orders are expected to pick up next quarter, Infineon also said a 1.5 month delay on a "Nokia project" is also to blame for its revenue shortfall.

iTunes movies for UK and Canada

Meanwhile, the TimesOnline is citing "studio sources" as saying that Apple is poised to announce the availability of feature films from four major Hollywood studios through the UK version of its iTunes download service at prices on a par with DVDs.

Those four studios are said to be Disney, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, and Time Warner. It's reported that films from the four studios will be available for both rent and outright purchase, though an exact launch date has yet to be finalized.

A couple of smaller studios, including independents Lions Gate and MGM, may also soon sign similar deals, according to the Times. The report adds that Canada is expected to be grouped into the distribution agreements, likely seeing its own iTunes movie download service launched in conjunction with the UK.

Apple petitions the WTO

Finally, Apple is among a group of high-tech US firms that filed a complaint Wednesday with the World Trade Organization over European tariffs on three categories of high-tech goods, including flat-panel computer displays and some printers.

The taxes are as high as 14 percent in some cases, making US exports less competitive in the European Union, the Information Technology Industry Council argues.

Having received the complaint, the WTO now initiates a 60-day consultation period with the European Union, after which the US may ask a WTO panel to rule on the matter.

Specifically, the US is charging the EU with violating a 1996 WTO agreement that was supposed to eliminated tariffs on information technology equipment, such as flat-panel displays. But the EU argues that flat-panels can also be used for portable DVD players, not just computers, and are therefore exempt from the the 1996 Information Technology Agreement.

The EU further claims that it has the right to charge duties on other pieces of technology equipment, such as cable boxes that access the Internet, because those pieces of technology were conceived after the 1996 agreement.

The EU has offered to negotiate; the US has refused.