Apple's iTunes faces hazy future in France

US technology giant Apple Computer faces a serious legal challenge in France, which may threaten the firm's online music business, an Associated Press report said.


The report said lawmakers' move for amendments to an online copyright bill would give rivals access to exclusive file formats at the heart of Apple's music business model as well as Sony's Walkman players and Connect store.


iTunes had become the global leader in online music sales, with the dominance of the iPod digital music player, which was currently designed not to play music from rival services, the report said.


According to the latest amendments, however, copy-protection technologies such as Apple's exclusive FairPlay format and Sony's ATRAC3 "must not result in the prevention of the effective application of interoperability," the report said.


The draft law could force Apple to let French iPod users buy their music from download sites other than iTunes, the report further said.