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Apple opens iTunes Store in 12 Asian countries, skips India

Apple opens iTunes Store in 12 Asian countries, skips India
Apple on Wednesday announced that it is extending the iTunes Store to 12 countries in Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan.

The iTunes Store - not to be confused with Apple's App Store that showcases iOS apps - features music and movies from the world's leading music labels, movie studios as well as independent labels. While the App Store is available in 155 countries worldwide, a much smaller number feature the iTunes Store. This is likely down to licensing agreements that need to be worked out for each market with all studios involved.

With the announcement that much smaller markets like Laos, Macau and Sri Lanka are getting iTunes Store, people waiting for the day iTunes Store hits the Indian shores will definitely be disappointed. However, before you direct your ire at Apple, remember it is in Apple's interest to be in as many countries as possible. The fact that India continues to be ignored is more likely down to the studios, than any decisions taken at Cupertino. It is possible that major studios and music labels, who are already present in India in various capacities, prefer an alternative approach for the Indian market.

When asked for comments on why it continues to ignore markets like India and China, Apple told AFP in a written reply "We're always working to bring the iTunes Store to more customers around the world, as conditions permit."

With little details forthcoming from Apple and the record labels on the subject, one can only speculate about the reasons for giving a miss yet again. And continue the wait, until next time.

Here's the Apple press release in full, just to rub it in.

Apple today announced the launch of the iTunes Store in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and nine additional countries in Asia featuring an incredible selection of local and international music from all the major labels and thousands of independent labels. The iTunes Store features local artists including Jay Chou, Girls Generation and Andy Lau, international artists including ADELE, The Beatles and Jason Mraz, and world-renowned classical musicians including Lang Lang, Yo Yo Ma and Yuja Wang. Customers can choose from over 20 million songs available to purchase and download on the iTunes Store.

Apple is bringing the iTunes Store to music fans in Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Customers can also rent or purchase movies from the iTunes Store, with many available in stunning HD, from major studios including 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures. The iTunes Store joins the revolutionary App Store which offers more than 650,000 apps to consumers in 155 countries.

The iTunes Store is the best way for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music online. All music on the iTunes Store comes in iTunes Plus, Apple's DRM-free format with high-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings.

iTunes in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to all your devices. In addition, music not purchased from the iTunes Store can gain the same benefits by using iTunes Match, a new service that stores your entire music library in iCloud for access at any time, from any iOS device. iTunes Match is available for purchase in the new countries added today.

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